United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Raheem Maurice Hayes, is a state prisoner proceeding pro
se with a civi. rights complaint filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Previously, this Court granted Mr.
Hayes' application to proceed in forma pauperis.
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 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 permitted to proceed in part.
allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for
purpose of this screening Opinion. Mr. Hayes names four
defendants in his complaint; they are: (1) Sgt. Wilkens; (2)
John Doe; (3) John Doe; and (4) George Robinson.
allegations of the complaint relate to when Mr. Hayes was
incarcerated at the Northern State Prison. Mr. Hayes alleges
that a John Doe correctional officer approached him and told
Mr. Hayes to take a yellow thread out of his dreadlocks. This
John Doe officer then told Mr. Hayes he was going to cut it
out. Mr. Hayes responded that it was locked into his hair.
This first John Doe officer asked another John Doe officer
for scissors. Mr. Hayes told the John Doe officers it was in
his hair because of his Oshun religion. Sergeant Wilkens was
then called. Wilkens asked Mr. Hayes why he had a yellow
thread locked into his hair. Mr. Hayes told Wilkens that it
was because of his Yoruba religion.
instructed the John Doe officers to cut off Mr. Hayes'
dreadlocks. Three of Mr. Hayes' dreadlocks were then cut
Hayes sues alleging that his First and Eighth Amendment
rights were violated as a result of this incident. He seeks
injunctive and monetary relief against the defendants.
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. § l9l5A(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. §
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. 2032) (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. § l997e(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).