United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MASON, PLAINTIFF PRO SE
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE JUDGE
Complaint dated September 20, 2016, Plaintiff Thelma Mason
presumably sought to bring a civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, however, Plaintiff did not list a
defendant. Complaint, Docket Entry 1 (“Original
Complaint”), § III(A). Plaintiff elected to file
an Amended Complaint dated November 9, 2016. The Amended
Complaint stated in its entirety: “I was set on the
floor for one month on a block they was [illegible] me and I
was under the bed.” Amended Complaint § III(A),
Docket Entry 6 (“Amended Complaint”), 2. The
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L.
No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to
1321-77, requires a court to review complaints prior to
service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in
forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court
must sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte
screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)
because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
accordance with these directives of the PLRA, this Court
undertook the requisite screening of the Amended Complaint
and, by Order dated November 16, 2017 (Docket Entry 8
(“Dismissal Order”)) dismissed without prejudice
Plaintiff's claims alleging constitutional violations as
to conditions of confinement.
November 16, 2017 dismissal of Plaintiff's conditions of
confinement claim was without prejudice because, even
accepting the statements in § III of Plaintiff's
Complaint as true for screening purposes only
(““I was set on the floor for one month on a
block they was [illegible] me and I was under the bed.”
(Amended Complaint § III(C)), there was not enough
factual support for the Court to infer that a constitutional
violation had occurred in connection with Plaintiff's
incarceration. Dismissal Opinion at
Dismissal Order granted Plaintiff leave to amend the Amended
Complaint within 30 days of the date of the Dismissal Order
to plead sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference
that a constitutional violation occurred during her
confinement, such as: adverse conditions that were caused by
specific state actors; adverse conditions that caused
Plaintiff to endure genuine privations and hardship over an
extended period of time; or adverse conditions that were
excessive in relation to their purposes.
November 23, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a Second Amended
Complaint, again asserting claims arising from incarceration
at “Camden County Correctional Facility” (Docket
Entry 9 (“Second Amended Complaint”) at §
III(A)), but differing slightly from the Amended Complaint as
to conditions of confinement facts and alleged injuries.
Plaintiff states in her second amended complaint: “I
was forced to sleep on the floor because there was 3 to 4
people in a cell on the cold floor with roaches and for that
I have to [illegible] and sleep on the floor. I sleeping on
the floor near the toilet were they set were I sleep at.
People throw up where my head at.” Second Amended
Complaint, Docket Entry 9, § III(C). Plaintiff further
alleges the “sergeants, LTs and Cos they all knew about
this problem.” Id. Second Amended Complaint,
Docket Entry 9, § III(C).
accordance with the directives of the PLRA, the Court must
now screen the Second Amended Complaint to dismiss any claim
that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
suit. Pursuant to this mandate of the PLRA, the Court now
finds that Plaintiff's November 23, 2016 Second Amended
Complaint is insufficient to constitute an amended complaint
that survives this Court's review under § 1915.
First, Plaintiff still asserts Camden County Correctional
Facility as the defendant in her action. As the Court stated
in its opinion dismissing claims against this defendant with
prejudice, the CCCF is not a “state actor” within
the meaning of § 1983. See, e.g., Grabow v. Southern
State Corr. Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538-39 (D.N.J.
1989) (correctional facility is not a “person”
under § 1983). Accordingly, the claims against CCCF must
be dismissed with prejudice.
Second, like the Amended Complaint, the Second Amended
Complaint still does not set forth sufficient factual support
for the Court to infer that a constitutional violation has
occurred as to conditions of confinement.
process analysis requires courts to consider whether the
totality of confinement conditions “cause[s] inmates to
endure such genuine privations and hardship over an extended
period of time, that the adverse conditions become excessive
in relation to the purposes assigned to them.”
Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 233 (3d Cir. 2008).
Due process protections “secure the individual from the
arbitrary exercise of the powers of government, unrestrained
by the established principles of private right and
distributive justice.” Hurtado v. California,
110 U.S. 516, 527 (1884). “[O]nly the most egregious
official conduct can be said to be ‘arbitrary in the
constitutional sense, ' Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 129 (1992), thereby recognizing
the point made by Chief Justice Marshall, that ‘it is
a constitution we are expounding, ' Daniels
v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332 (1985) (quoting
M'Culloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819)
(emphasis in original)).” City of Sacramento v.
Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 846 (1998).
Furthermore, the Constitution “does not mandate
comfortable prisons.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452
U.S. 337, 349 (1981).
Accordingly, to demonstrate that purportedly crowded
incarceration conditions of a pretrial detainee shock the
conscience and thus violate due process rights, more is
necessary than that provided by Plaintiff. Thus, the Second
Amended Complaint does not cure the pleading defects in the
Amended Complaint as to Plaintiff's condition of
Therefore, even liberally construing the Amended Complaint
and the Second Amended Complaint as this Court is required to
do, Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239,
245 (3d Cir. 2013), Plaintiff has still failed to plead
sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that a
constitutional violation ...