United States District Court, D. New Jersey
DONALD J. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
BURLINGTON COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.
J. Taylor, Plaintiff Pro se
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Donald J. Taylor, an inmate presently incarcerated at the
Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey,
seeks to proceed in forma pauperis to bring a
medical care claim against the Burlington County Jail under
either the Eighth Amendment, which applies to convicted
prisoners, or the Fourteenth Amendment, which applies to
pre-trial detainees, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See ECF Nos. 1 (complaint), 1-2 (application to
proceed in forma pauperis).
time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) 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 will
dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state
a claim, with leave to amend. 28 U.S.C. §
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on October 15, 2017, he
suffered an injury resulting from a wet floor at Burlington
County Jail. ECF No. 1, Compl. at 4. Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges that he was exiting his Unit in the F Wing at
Burlington County Jail on the way to see the doctor.
Id. Plaintiff walked past the shower area, which was
wet as was the staircase. Id. Plaintiff slipped and
then slid down approximately six stairs. Id.
Plaintiff notes that there was a witness to this accident.
Id. According to Plaintiff, he received
“little to no treatment from the medical
department” and that he requested to go to the local
hospital, which was denied. Id. Although Plaintiff
states he has an injury, he does not specify the sort of
injury he has sustained as a result of the accident.
Id. at 5. Plaintiff requests compensation for his
pain, suffering, medical bills, and loss of employment
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.
survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a
claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual
matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible.
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.
2009). “‘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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Complaint, Plaintiff does not specify the sort of claim that
he wishes to bring against the Burlington County Jail.
Because Plaintiff seeks compensation for his injuries and
also complains about the lack of medical care he received at
the facility, the Court will presume Plaintiff seeks to bring
a medical claim against Defendant Burlington County Jail.
Convicted prisoners are able to bring such a claim under the
Eighth Amendment whereas pre-trial detainees must bring such
a claim under the due process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. Natale v. Camden Cty. Corr. Facility, 318
F.3d 575, 581 (3d Cir 2003). Plaintiff should identify status
as either a pre-trial detainee or a convicted prisoner in any
order to state a cognizable claim, a prisoner must allege
acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs. It is only such
indifference that can offend ‘evolving standards of
decency' in violation of the Eighth Amendment.”
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
“[T]o succeed under these principles, plaintiffs must
demonstrate (1) that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to their medical needs and (2) that those needs
were serious.” Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d
192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999). Some of the more common situations
in which “deliberate indifference” has been found
include when the prison official knows of a prisoner's
need for medical treatment but intentionally refuses to
provide it, delays necessary medical treatment based on a
non-medical reason, and prevents a prisoner from receiving
needed or recommended medical treatment. Id.
Plaintiff fails to allege a serious medical need. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff only states that he has an
“injury.” Such a vague and conclusory allegation
fails to provide the sort of detail necessary to assert an
Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment medical claim. Furthermore,
Plaintiff also fails to allege the requisite state of mind -
deliberate indifference - another required element for such a
claim. Plaintiff only alleges that he received “little
to no” medical treatment and requested to go to the
local hospital “to no avail.” Compl. at 4. Given
Plaintiff's failure to specify any serious medical need
to which the Defendant was deliberately indifferent,
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may
“plaintiffs who file complaints subject to dismissal
under [§ 1915] should receive leave to amend unless
amendment would be inequitable or futile.” Grayson
v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir.
2002). The Court will grant leave to amend in order to ...