Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brooks v. Camden County Jail

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 7, 2018

CATHLEEN BROOKS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.

          Cathleen Brooks, Plaintiff Pro Se

          OPINION

          HON. JEROME B. SIMANDLE, District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         1. Plaintiff Cathleen Brooks seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.

         2. At this time, the Court must review the Complaint 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: (1) will be dismissed with prejudice as to claims against CCJ; and (2) will be dismissed without prejudice: (a) as to alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement ((i) overcrowded conditions, (ii) water conditions, and (iii) food conditions), (b) as to alleged improper strip search, and (c) as to alleged harassment.

         II. BACKGROUND

         3. The following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiff's allegations.

         4. Plaintiff alleges she endured unconstitutional conditions of confinement in CCJ as she was confined in an overcrowded, unsanitary facility. Complaint § III. Her complaint states: “There was no room in holding[.] 7 day lock slept on floor. Water was cold. Food had hair in it. Was stripped search for a non-drug offense. Guards yelled at me & cursed at me for no reason.” Id. § III(C).

         5. Plaintiff alleges that these events occurred in “Feb 2016 - Sept 2016.” Id. § III(B).

         6. Plaintiff does not identify or otherwise describe any injury sustained in connection with the alleged events. Id. § IV (blank).

         7. Plaintiff does not specify or otherwise describe any requested relief. Id. § V (blank).

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         8. Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. 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.

         9. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (a) dismiss the Complaint with prejudice as to claims made against CCJ; and (b) dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Claims Against CCJ: Dismissed With Prejudice

         10. Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983[1] for alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. In order to set forth a prima facie case under § 1983, a plaintiff must show: “(1) a person deprived him of a federal right; and (2) the person who deprived him of that right acted under color of state or territorial law.” Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980)).

         11. Generally, for purposes of actions under § 1983, “[t]he term ‘persons' includes local and state officers acting under color of state law.” Carver v. Foerster, 102 F.3d 96, 99 (3d Cir. 1996) (citing Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991)).[2] To say that a person was “acting under color of state law” means that the defendant in a § 1983 action “exercised power [that the defendant] possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because the wrongdoer [was] clothed with the authority of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988) (citation omitted). Generally, then, “a public employee acts under color of state law while acting in his official capacity or while exercising his responsibilities pursuant to state law.” Id. at 50.

         12. Because the Complaint has not sufficiently alleged that a “person” deprived Plaintiff of a federal right, the Complaint does not meet the standards necessary to set forth a prima facie case under § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff makes claims against CCJ for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The CCJ, however, is not a “person” within the meaning of § 1983; therefore, the claims against it must be dismissed with prejudice. See Crawford v. McMillian, 660 F. App'x 113, 116 (3d Cir. 2016) (“[T]he prison is not an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”) (citing Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973)); Grabow v. Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538-39 (D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a “person” under § 1983). Given that the claims against the CCJ must be dismissed with prejudice, the claims may not proceed and Plaintiff may not name the CCJ as a defendant.

         13. Plaintiff may be able to amend the Complaint to name a person or persons who were personally involved in the alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement, however. To that end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the Complaint within 30 days after the date this Opinion and Order are entered on the docket.

         B. Conditions Of Confinement Claim - Overcrowded Conditions: Dismissed Without Prejudice

         14. Plaintiff alleges that “there was no room in holding[.] 7 day lock slept on floor” (hereinafter referred to as Plaintiff's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.