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Jones v. Owens

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

October 30, 2017

DAVID T. JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID S. OWENS; KAREN TAYLOR, Defendants.

          David T. Jones, Plaintiff Pro Se.

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Plaintiff David Jones' (“Plaintiff”), submission of a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Complaint, Docket Entry 1. At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint will proceed in part.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against David Owens and Karen Taylor, the former and current wardens of the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), for permitting him to be admitted into the facility without a signed warrant and for failing to release him when he brought the lack of a warrant to their attention. The following factual allegations are taken from the complaint and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiff's allegations.

         Plaintiff states he entered the CCCF on April 21, 2015 on a warrant signed only by the arresting officer, not by a judicial officer. He filed a grievance with Mr. Owens about the lack of a signed warrant but did not receive a response. Complaint at 5. He also spoke with Ms. Taylor in February 2016. Id. at 6. She responded that “the County had other paperwork” to process Plaintiff's admission into CCCF, and Plaintiff countered it was “facility policy to have a warrant . . . .” Id. at 7. Plaintiff requested a copy of the warrant from the Admissions Office, but they only had the “defendant copy” of the warrant. Id. at 6. Plaintiff continued to request a signed copy of the warrant from various CCCF officials. Eventually, Captain Franceschini went to the prosecutor's office to get a signed warrant. He returned with a warrant signed by a judicial officer dated April 20, 2015. Id. See also Exhibits Two and Three.

         Plaintiff asks for a preliminary injunction and monetary relief for an unconstitutional arrest.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

         Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to 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) and 1915A because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and is seeking relief from government employees.

         According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, [1] the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (following Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, plaintiffs “still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

         B. ...


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