United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JESUS E. ROMAN, Plaintiff,
J. DeMARCO et al., Defendants.
L. WOLFSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jesus E. Roman (“Roman” or
“Plaintiff”), is presently held at the Ocean
County Jail, in Toms River, New Jersey. He is proceeding
pro se with this Complaint asserting violations of
his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (See
Compl., ECF No. 1.) The Court now screens the Complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and 42
U.S.C. § 1997e. For the reasons stated herein,
Roman's claim against defendant J. Haberbush is dismissed
without prejudice, but the remainder of the Complaint is
permitted to proceed.
initially filed his Complaint on April 18, 2018. (ECF No. 1.)
Roman alleges that defendants Sergeant E. Clark
(“Clark”) and Sergeant J. Donato
(“Donato”) left him overnight in a cell that had
been flooded with raw sewage. (ECF No. 1 at ECF p. 5.) He
contends that defendant Sergeant J. DeMarco
(“DeMarco”) refused to move him out of the cell
flooded with sewage when Roman received breakfast, and that
Roman “was forced to eat in my cell flooded with human
wast[e] with no running water in my cell to wash the raw
sewage off my hands.” (Id.) Roman further
alleges that defendant Lieutenant K. Stuart
(“Stuart”) refused to move him to another cell
when Roman complained of the “constant illumination in
[his] cell for weeks, ” even after he filed a grievance
in this regard. (Id.) Roman explains that
“lights never dimmed at night time was enduring torture
for weeks.” (Id.) Finally, Roman alleges that,
despite his grievances, Captain J. Haberbush
(“Haberbush”) “sat back and did nothing to
prevent these cruel and unusual punishments and reckless
neglectments [sic] his co-workers subjected me too
raises all of his claims under the Cruel and Unusual
Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment. (See ECF No. 1.)
He asserts that these incidents occurred on November 12,
2016. (Id. at ECF pp. 6, 8.) Roman alleges that
exposure to the sewage caused him to contract Hepatitis A and
that the constant illumination in his cell resulted in sleep
deprivation, migraine headaches, and stress. (Id. at
ECF p. 8.) He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
THE SCREENING STANDARD
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
prisoner complaints when the prisoner (1) is proceeding
in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), (2) seeks redress against a governmental
employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, or
(3) asserts a claim concerning prison conditions,
see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The PLRA directs
district courts to sua sponte dismiss claims that
are frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b); 42 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. 2012); see
also 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)). 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).
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.”
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.
2009) (internal quotation marks 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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Fair Wind
Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d
Cir. 2014). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
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, 520 (1972);
Glunk v. Noone, 689 Fed.Appx. 137, 139 (3d Cir.
2017). 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).
plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights.
That section provides,
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, 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, except that in any action brought against a judicial
officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's
judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted
unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory
relief was unavailable.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege, first, the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and
second, that the alleged deprivation was committed or caused
by a person acting under color of state law. See Harvey
v. Plains Twp. Police Dep't, 635 ...