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Brown v. Owens

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 22, 2018

ANTWAN BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN DAVID OWENS, Defendant.

          Antwan Brown, Plaintiff Pro Se

          Anne E. Walters, Esquire Attorney for Defendant David Owens

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on the unopposed motion for summary judgment (“the Motion”) of defendant Warden David Owens (“Defendant” or “Owens”) (ECF No. 23.)[1] The Motion is being considered on the papers pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the motion for summary judgment upon the merits shall be granted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff Antwan Brown (“Plaintiff”) was a pretrial detainee at the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) from March 2015 (ECF No. 23-9) through July 2017. (ECF No. 22.) He is proceeding pro se with a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint (“the Complaint”) regarding the conditions of confinement during his stay at CCCF. (ECF No. 1.)

         On July 15, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Inmate Grievance Form, claiming as follows: “I'm having serious problems with dealing with the [CCCF] housing unit overcrowded situation. I do know and understand this to be a major civil rights violation, and despite many warnings/complaint[s], the administration here continues to pack this place in as a matter of practice and policy.” (ECF No. 1 at 8.) Plaintiff further “humbly request[ed] that the administration here rectif[y] the overcrowding ASAP.” (Id.)

         Ten days later, Plaintiff filed the Complaint against Defendant and an application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Application”). (ECF No. 1.) In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges “pervasive overcrowding” and “other deleterious conditions” at CCCF. (Id. at 6.) First, as to the supposedly overcrowded conditions of confinement, Plaintiff contends that he was confined in “a unit originally constructed to hold 28 inmates [but] due to severe overcrowding [wa]s housing 40 inmates.” (ECF No. 1 at 5.) According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was “forced to live in an 8x10 cell with 2 other inmates [that] was originally designed to hold 2 people but due to overcrowding a 3rd and sometimes 4th man sleeps on the floor with nothing more than a mattress next to the cell['s] toilet.” (Id. at 6.) Second, as to the “other deleterious conditions” of which Plaintiff complains, he describes: “(1) inadequate ‘dayroom space'[;] (2) mold and insect infested showers[;] (3) failure to train correction officers and other staff to deal adequately with the overcrowded and unhealthy conditions at CCCF[;] [and] (4) triple celling [that] leaves an unconscionably small amount of unencumbered space within the cells.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff seeks $1, 000, 000 in punitive damages and $1, 000 in compensatory damages “for each day [Plaintiff] was unlawfully housed in a (3) man as well as a (4) man cell.” (Id. at 7.)

         B. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On August 9, 2016, the Honorable Robert B. Kugler granted Plaintiff's IFP Application and directed the Clerk of the Court to reopen the case and file the Complaint. (ECF No. 2.) After screening Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, Judge Kugler ordered that Plaintiff's Complaint be allowed to proceed in its entirety against Defendant. (ECF No. 3.) On September 14, 2016, the case was reassigned to the undersigned and Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio for all further proceedings. (ECF No. 6.)

         Defendant filed an Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint on April 5, 2017 (ECF Nos. 14 and 15) and an Amended Answer on April 6, 2017. (ECF No. 17.) On May 17, 2017, Magistrate Judge Donio issued a scheduling order requiring that all pretrial factual discovery be concluded by August 31, 2017. (ECF No. 20.) Defendant served Plaintiff with his: (1) April 12, 2017 Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 Disclosures (ECF No. 23-5 at 2-4); (2) May 18, 2017 document requests (ECF Nos. 23-5 at 5; 23-6 at 2-4); and (3) May 18, 2017 interrogatories. (ECF Nos. 23-5 at 5; 23-6 at 5-13.) Plaintiff has not served Defendant with any discovery responses or disclosures. (ECF Nos. 23-3 at ¶6; 23-2 at 5.) On ...


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