United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Stacy Reaves, is a prisoner currently confined at the Cape
May County Correctional Center in Cape May, New Jersey. He is
proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At this time, the
Court must screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A 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
suit. For the following reasons, the complaint will be
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim.
Additionally, Plaintiff's motions for the appointment of
pro bono counsel will be denied without prejudice.
allegations of this complaint will be construed as true for
purposes of this screening opinion. Plaintiff seeks to bring
a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Defendants Atlantic County Justice Facility
(“ACJF”), Warden Geraldine Cohen, Sergeant
Bennett, Nurse DuBois, Correctional Health Services
(“CHS”), Sergeant Johnson, and Officer Worker.
(See ECF No. 1 at pp. 5-7). Plaintiff's
allegations arise from conduct that occurred while he was
incarcerated at the ACJF.
alleges that he was housed in the medical unit at the ACJF
due to his serious medical conditions, including spina bifida
and right eye blindness. (See ECF No. 1-2 at p. 7).
Plaintiff states that he was removed from the medical unit
and placed in general population after another inmate that
Plaintiff was not permitted to be housed with underwent
treatment in the medical unit. (See id.). On June 6,
2017, the other inmate left the ACJF and Plaintiff requested
to be transferred back to the medical unit. (See
id.). Nurse DuBois informed Plaintiff that Sergeant
Bennett denied his request to be transferred back to the
medical unit. (See id.).
housed in general population, on June 11, 2017, Plaintiff
claims that he was the victim of an assault by two racist
inmates. (See id.). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
that while he was walking to get a food tray, the two inmates
called Plaintiff a racist name, pushed him, and knocked him
unconscious. (See id.). Plaintiff states that it was
later determined in a disciplinary hearing that he was the
victim of a hate crime. (See id.).
the incident, Plaintiff states that he wrote to internal
affairs about the incident and called the “hot
line.” (See ECF No. 1 at p. 9). Plaintiff
alleges that Sergeant Johnson and Officer Worker were
assigned to investigate his complaint, but neither officer
followed up with him. (See Id. at pp. 6-7).
Additionally, Plaintiff claims that he requested grievance
forms on numerous occasions but was never provided with any
forms. (See Id. at pp. 9-10).
alleges that the Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to his health and safety when they transferred
him to general population. (See Id. at pp. 5-7).
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages in an
amount to be determined by the Court. (See Id. at p.
12). Additionally, Plaintiff has filed two motions seeking
the appointment of pro bono counsel. (See
ECF Nos. 3 and 9).
FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26,
1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review
complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is
proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental
employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b),
or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions,
see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs
district courts to 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. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane
v. Seana, 506 Fed.Appx. 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing
Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir.
2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 Fed.Appx. 230, 232
(3d Cir. 2012) (discussing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1));
Courteau v. United States, 287 Fed.Appx. 159, 162
(3d Cir. 2008) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). To
survive the court's screening for failure to state a
claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual
matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible.
See Fowler v. UPMC 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) (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
court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in
a complaint.” Id. Legal conclusions, together
with threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, do not suffice to state a claim. See Id.
Thus, “a court considering a motion to dismiss can
choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they
are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth.” Id. at 679. “While
legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint,
they must be supported by factual allegations.”
Id. If a complaint can be remedied by an amendment,
a district court may not dismiss the complaint with
prejudice, but must permit the amendment. Grayson v.
Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002).
must liberally construe pleadings that are filed pro
se. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)). Thus, “a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted). “Court personnel
reviewing pro se pleadings are charged with the
responsibility of deciphering why the submission was filed,
what the litigant is seeking, and ...