United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Gorden Stokelin, is a state prisoner currently
incarcerated at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New
Jersey. At the time of the filing of this complaint, the
plaintiff was incarcerated at the Atlantic County Justice
Facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey. The plaintiff is
proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
time, this 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 can 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 upon which relief can be granted.
allegations of the 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 the warden at the Atlantic County Justice Facility
for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
his period of incarceration, Plaintiff alleges that he was
forced to live in "deplorable" conditions. (Dkt.
No. 1 at pg. 4) Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that there
was black mold in the showers and possibly "underneath
the paint in the dayroom," that the ventilation system
was poor, and that the food was “not worthy of
consumption." (See id.) Plaintiff contends that
he informed an unidentified correctional sergeant multiple
times about these undesirable circumstances, however, no
remedial actions occurred. Plaintiff now seeks relief in the
form of monetary damages for the “pain and
suffering” he endured living in these conditions.
(See Id. at 5).
the Prisoner 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 person 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
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 28 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)). That
standard is set forth in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544 (2007), as explicated by the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit. 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 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “[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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).
Nevertheless, “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).
outset, this Court notes that it is unclear from
Plaintiff's Complaint whether he was a pretrial detainee
or a convicted prisoner at the time he filed the instant
complaint. If Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee, then his
claims must be analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment.
See Mestre v. Wagner, 488 Fed.Appx. 648, 649 (3d
Cir. 2012). If, however, Plaintiff was a convicted prisoner
at the time of filing, then his claims must be analyzed under
the Eighth Amendment. Id.
the Eighth Amendment, the government is prohibited from
inflicting “cruel and unusual punishment” upon
those convicted of crimes. See Rhodes v. Chapman,
452 U.S. 337, 345 (1981). In prison, correctional officers
are under a duty to provide “humane conditions of
confinement.” Betts v. New Castle Youth Dev.
Ctr., 621 F.3d 249, 256 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994)). For
conditions of confinement to violate the Eighth ...