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Donahue v. Camden County Correctional Facility

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 1, 2018

THOMAS M. DONOHUE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; DAVID OWENS, WARDEN; and KATE TAYLOR, WARDEN, Defendants.

          Thomas M. Donohue, Plaintiff Pro Se

          OPINION

          HON. JEROME B. SIMANDLE, District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         1. Plaintiff Thomas M. Donohue (“Plaintiff”) seeks to bring a civil rights action against Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), David Owens (“Owens”) as Warden at CCCF, and Kate Taylor (“Taylor”) as Warden at CCCF (Owens and Taylor referred to collectively as “the Individual Defendants”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. (ECF No. 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.

         3. For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint: (a) is dismissed with prejudice as to CCCF; (b) is dismissed with prejudice as to Plaintiff's claims of overcrowding, uncleanly living conditions, and inadequate medical care -- to the extent such claims arose during incarcerations from which Plaintiff was released from CCCF before April 21, 2015; (c) shall proceed against the Individual Defendants as to Plaintiff's claims of overcrowding, uncleanly living conditions, and inadequate medical care -- to the extent such claims arose during incarcerations from which Plaintiff was released from CCCF on or after April 21, 2015; (d) is dismissed without prejudice as to Plaintiff's claim of failure to protect; and (e) is dismissed without prejudice as to Plaintiff's claim of excessive use of force.

         II. BACKGROUND

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

         5. Plaintiff alleges he endured unconstitutional conditions of confinement in CCCF from overcrowded conditions of confinement, unsanitary living conditions, and inadequate medical care. (ECF No. 1 at 5-7.) Plaintiff also asserts claims for failure to protect and excessive use of force. (Id. at 7.)

         6. Plaintiff alleges that these events occurred “for more th[a]n 1400 days since 12/22/2012.” (Id. at 2.)

         7. Plaintiff contends that he sustained injuries such as “lumbar disk problems and sciatica, ” depression, a fungal infection of the scalp with associated hair loss, and “7 MRSA lesions” in connection with the alleged events. (Id. at 6-7.)

         8. As to requested relief, Plaintiff seeks: transfer to a detention facility located in another state[1]; “compensat[ion] at the maximum levels for my damages sustained during my 1, 400 days of incarceration, ” and for this Court “to hold all involved parties accountable to the highest degree.” (Id. at 7-8.)

         III. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

         9. Section 1915(e)(2) requires review of complaints prior to service in cases in which 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. (ECF No. 2.)

         10. To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, a 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). “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)).

         B. Section 1983 Actions

         11. A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights. That statute provides, in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress ....

42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         12. To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins,4 ...


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