Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Reaves v. Atlantic County Justice Facility

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 26, 2018

STACY REAVES, Plaintiff,
v.
ATLANTIC COUNTY JUSTICE FACTILTY, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, 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.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The 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.

         Plaintiff 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.).

         While 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.).

         Following 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).

         Plaintiff 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).

         III.STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

         Under 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).

         “The 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 (2007)).

         “[A] 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).

         Courts 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.