United States District Court, D. New Jersey
BRIAN R. MARTINOTTI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
this Court is pro se pre-trial detainee Timothy
Lewis's (“Plaintiff”) civil rights complaint,
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and application to
proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1, 3.) Having
reviewed Plaintiff's affidavit of indigence (ECF No. 3),
Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis is GRANTED and the Clerk of
the Court shall file the Complaint.
time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) 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 such relief. For the reasons set forth below, and
for good cause appearing, Plaintiff's Complaint is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
to the Complaint, Plaintiff's court-appointed private
attorney, defendant Michael B. Roberts
(“Roberts”), is “in collusion with the
Criminal Court Middlesex County Superior Division and he is
violating [Plaintiff's] rights by not allowing [him] to
represent [himself].” (ECF No. 1 ¶
4(b).) Roberts no longer allows Plaintiff to come
to court for appearances. (Id. at ¶ 6.)
Defendant John H. Johnson (“Johnson”), the
Supervisor of the Middlesex County Public Defender's
Office, is, according to Plaintiff, allowing Roberts to
prevent Plaintiff from representing himself in his criminal
proceeding. (Id. at ¶ 4(c).) Plaintiff seeks
unspecified injunctive relief. (Id. at ¶ 7.)
Standard for a Sua Sponte Dismissal
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 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. This action is
subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A because Plaintiff is a
prisoner who is proceeding as indigent.
to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'” 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua
sponte screening for failure to state a claim, 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.” Belmont v. MB Inv.
Partners, Inc., 708 F.3d 470, 483 n.17 (3d Cir. 2012)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, 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
Section 1983 Actions
plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights.
Section 1983 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 . . . .
to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff
must allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, the
alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person
acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d
560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011).