United States District Court, D. New Jersey
DEREK S. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
CAMDEN COUNTY (PRISON) - CCCF CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, LIEUTENANT DANFORD, and SGT. JONES, Defendants.
S. Williams, Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Derek S. Williams seeks to bring a civil rights
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden
County Prison (Prison) - CCCF Correctional Facility
(“CCCF”), Lieutenant Danford
(“Danford”), and Sgt. Jones (“Jones”)
for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
Plaintiff seeks to bring this civil action without prepayment
of fees or security. Docket Entry 1-3. Based on
Plaintiff's affidavit of indigency, the Court will grant
his application to proceed in forma pauperis.
this time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) 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
the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (a) dismiss with
prejudice Plaintiff's claims against CCCF, on the grounds
that CCCF is not a “person” within the meaning of
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii));
(b) dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff's allegations of
unconstitutional conditions of confinement during the
confinement period April 20, 2015 - August 21, 2015, on the
grounds that such claims are barred by the applicable
two-year statute of limitations and therefore fail to state a
claim (28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii)); (c) dismiss
without prejudice Plaintiff's unconstitutional conditions
of confinement claims as to overcrowding, food, and
unsanitary conditions, during the confinement period March
10, 2017 - March 14, 2017, on the grounds that those
allegations fail to state a claim (28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(b)(ii)); and (d) grant Plaintiff leave to amend
the Complaint within 30 days of the date that this Opinion
and accompanying Order are entered on the docket, in the
event Plaintiff elects to address the pleading deficiencies
described in this Opinion.
Complaint alleges that Plaintiff “was subjected to
unsafe and unsanitary crowded living conditions which
resulted in crowded/overcrowded housing and sleeping
quarters.” Complaint § III(C). Plaintiff states
that he “was placed in a cell that accommodated two
inmates [but] at all times housed four inmates.”
Id. Plaintiff states that these events occurred
“4/30/2015 - 8/21/2015” and “3/10/2017 -
3/14/2017.” Id. § III(B). Plaintiff
states that he sustained “no injuries, but [the
conditions] caused high level of intense frustration, anxiety
and lack of sleep.” Id. § IV. He seeks
“compensation for emotional distress [and] pain and
suffering.” Id. § V.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints
prior to service of the summons and complaint in cases in
which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
The Court must 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) because Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis.
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.”
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.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
Claims Against CCCF: Dismissed With
Plaintiff brings his Complaint against “Camden County
(Prison) - CCCF Correctional Facility.” Complaint at 1.
The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff experienced
unconstitutional conditions of confinement while confined at
“Camden County Correctional Facility - Jail.”
Complaint § III(B).
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
for alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional
rights. In order to set forth a prima facie case
under § 1983, a plaintiff must show: “(1) a person
deprived him of a federal right; and (2) the person who
deprived him of that right acted under color of state or
territorial law.” Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan,
47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980)).
Generally, for purposes of actions under § 1983,
“[t]he term ‘persons' includes local and
state officers acting under color of state law.”
Carver v. Foerster, 102 F.3d 96, 99 (3d Cir. 1996)
(citing Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21
(1991)). To say that a person was “acting
under color of state law” means that the defendant in a
§ 1983 action “exercised power [that the
defendant] possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer [was] clothed with the authority
of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49
(1988) (citation omitted). Generally, then, “a public
employee acts under color of state law while acting in his
official capacity or while exercising his responsibilities
pursuant to state law.” Id. at 50.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from defendants for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Complaint § V. However, neither Camden County
Correctional Facility nor Camden County Jail (see
Complaint at 1 and 3) are a “person” within the
meaning of § 1983. Because the Complaint has not
sufficiently alleged that a “person” deprived
Plaintiff of a federal right, the Complaint does not meet the
standards necessary to set forth a prima facie case
under § 1983. Therefore, the claims against these
entities must be dismissed with prejudice. See Crawford
v. McMillian, 660 Fed.Appx. 113, 116 (3d Cir. 2016)
(“[T]he prison is not an entity subject to suit under
42 U.S.C. § 1983.”) (citing Fischer v.
Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973)); Grabow v.
Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538-39
(D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a
“person” under § 1983).
Plaintiff may be able to amend the Complaint to name a person
or persons who were personally involved in the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, however. To that
end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the
Complaint within 30 days of the date that this Opinion and
accompanying Order are entered on the docket.
Claims Regarding (a) Overcrowded Conditions of
Confinement, (b) Food, and (c) Unsanitary Conditions:
Dismissed With Prejudice As To Confinements From Which
Plaintiff Was Released Prior To October 2, 2016
Several of the claims set forth in the Complaint are
time-barred under the pertinent statute of limitations and
must be dismissed with prejudice on that basis. ...