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Groover v. Camden County Correctional Facility

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 23, 2018

STEVEN JOSEPH GROOVER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, OFFICER STEPHEN PRATT, OFFICER BRYAN CONWAY, OFFICER JOHN KRIMMEL and SGT. DAVID DOLSON, Defendants.

          Steven Joseph Groover, Plaintiff Pro Se

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         1. Plaintiff Steven Joseph Groover seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), Officer Stephen Pratt (“Pratt”), Officer Bryan Conway (“Conway”), Officer John Krimmel (“Krimmel”), and Sgt. David Dolson (“Dolson”) (Pratt, Conway, Krimmel, and Dolson are referred to collectively in this Opinion as the “Individual Defendants”) 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.

         II. BACKGROUND

         3. 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 or merits of any of Plaintiff's allegations in the Complaint.

         4. Plaintiff alleges he endured unconstitutional conditions of confinement in CCCF due to an overcrowded and unsanitary facility where he was denied medical care. (Complaint § III(C) (“I was forced to sleep on the floor in a jail cell with 3 other inmates. During that time I had to be treated in the medical dept. for a staff [sic] infection or MRSA due to having to live in unsanitary conditions and overcrowded jail cells being a health hazard”).)

         5. Plaintiff alleges that these events occurred during “1-3-14 until 5-17-14[, ] 9-23-15 until 11-7-15[, ] 2-8-16 until 2-18-16[, ] 8-8-16 until 10-12-16[, ] [and] 7-20-13 until 10-20-13.” (Id. § III(B).)

         6. Plaintiff alleges that he developed MRSA from the CCCF housing conditions of which he complains. (Id. § IV.)

         7. Plaintiff “would like the court to step in and make changes so that other inmates do not have to live under the same conditions that I did” and “would like the court to award me the maximum monetary compensation that is allowed by law.” (Id. § V.)

         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. To survive sua sponte screening, [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). 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).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Claims Against CCCF: Dismissed With Prejudice

         10. Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983[2] 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).

         11. CCCF, who is the Complaint's named defendant, is not a “person” within the meaning of § 1983. See Will v. MichiganDep'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 ...


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