United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MELANY L. CHILA, Plaintiff,
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Defendant.
L. Chila, Plaintiff Pro
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff Melany L. Chila seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden
County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement,
violation of her freedom of religious exercise, and unlawful
strip search. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
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. 7).
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 or merits of
Plaintiff alleges she endured unconstitutional conditions of
confinement in CCCF due to an overcrowded, rodent infested,
and unsanitary facility where she was denied medical care.
The Complaint also states that CCCF personnel unlawfully
strip searched Plaintiff and violated her exercise of
religion by confiscating her head covering, denying her
access to a Quran, and prohibiting her from exiting her CCCF
cell for religious worship. Complaint §§ III, V.
Plaintiff alleges that these events occurred during
“various dates 5-5-07 - 8-6-07 [and] Jan 5, 2016 -
1-15-16.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff expressly denies sustaining any injuries from the
alleged events, id. § IV (“no”),
while simultaneously contending that she has “anxiety
and sleep issues due to the inhumane way I was treated over
unpaid tickets.” Id. § V.
Plaintiff seeks $50, 000 in relief. Id. § V.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
survive sua sponte screening,  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).
While pro se pleadings are liberally construed,
“pro se litigants 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).
Claims Against CCCF: Dismissed With
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
for alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional
rights. To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege: (a) the violation of a right secured
by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (b)
that the alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a
person acting under color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Malleus v.
George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011).
CCCF, who is the named defendant in the Complaint, is not a
“person” within the meaning of § 1983.
See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491
U.S. 58, 71 (1989); Crawford v. McMillian, 660
Fed.Appx. 113, 116 (3d Cir. 2016) (“[T]he prison is not
an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983”); Grabow v. Southern State Corr.
Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538-39 (D.N.J. 1989)
(correctional facility is not a “person” under
Given that CCCF is not a “person” for § 1983
purposes, the Complaint's claims against CCCF must be
dismissed with prejudice.
Conditions Of Confinement Claims
Overcrowding Claim: Dismissed With Prejudice as to 2007
Incarceration and Dismissed Without Prejudice as to 2016
Complaint states: “Held me in a 12x7 holding tank with
a 7ft bench. There were 6 other women in there . . . Forced
to sleep on a matt under the toilet.” Complaint
§§ III(C), V (referred to as Plaintiff's
“2007 Overcrowding Claim” regarding conditions of
her May 5, 2007 - August 6, 2007 incarceration, and as
Plaintiff's “2016 Overcrowding Claim” as to
conditions from her January 5, 2016 - January 15, 2016
to the 2007 Overcrowding Claim, the allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement would have been
immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of detention;
therefore, the two-year statute of limitations for
Plaintiff's claims expired in November 2014 at the
latest, well before this Complaint was filed on November 4,
2016. (Docket Entry 1.) Plaintiff has filed this lawsuit too
late to complain about events in 2007. Although the Court may
toll, or extend, the statute of limitations in the interests
of justice, tolling is not warranted in this case because the
state has not “actively misled” Plaintiff as to
the existence of her cause of action, there are no
extraordinary circumstances that prevented her from filing
the claim, and there is nothing to indicate she filed the
claim on time but in the wrong forum. Omar v.
Blackman, 590 Fed.Appx. 162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014). As more
than two years have passed since Plaintiff's claims
accrued, the 2007 Overcrowding Claim is dismissed with
prejudice, meaning Plaintiff may not file an amended
complaint concerning her 2007 incarceration. Ostuni v. Wa
Wa's Mart, 532 Fed.Appx. 110, 112 (3d Cir. 2013)
(per curiam) (affirming dismissal with prejudice due to
expiration of statute of limitations).
to the 2016 Overcrowding Claim, the Complaint does not allege
sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that a
constitutional violation from overcrowding has occurred in
order to survive this Court's review under § 1915.
mere fact that an individual is lodged temporarily in a cell
with more persons than its intended design does not rise to
the level of a constitutional violation. See Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348-50 (1981) (holding
double-celling by itself did not violate Eighth Amendment);
Carson v. Mulvihill, 488 Fed.Appx. 554, 560 (3d Cir.
2012) (“[M]ere double-bunking does not constitute
punishment, because there is no ‘one man, one cell
principle lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment.'” (quoting Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 542 (1979))). More is needed to demonstrate that
such crowded conditions, for a pretrial detainee, shocks the
conscience and thus violates due process rights. See
Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)
(“Hubbard II”) (noting due process
analysis requires courts to consider whether the totality of
the 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”) (citing Union Cnty.
Jail Inmates v. DiBuono, 713 F.2d 984, 992 (3d Cir.
1983) (quoting Bell, 441 U.S. ...