United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. WOLFSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hossam A Ali (“Ali” or “Plaintiff”),
is proceeding pro se with this Complaint asserting
violations of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(See Compl., ECF No. 1.) On October 24, 2018, the
Court granted Ali leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF No. 2.) The Court now screens the
Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Also before the
Court is a motion by Ali for appointment of pro bono
counsel. (ECF No. 4.) For the reasons stated herein,
Ali's claim against defendant M.S.O. Jenkins
(“Jenkins”) is permitted to proceed, but the
remainder of his claims are dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Ali's motion for appointment of pro bono counsel
apparently, a patient confined at the Ann Klein Forensic
Center, a state psychiatric hospital. He alleges that, on
January 22, 2017, Jenkins, a hospital employee, “was
cursing at [Ali's] religion” and then grabbed Ali
by the neck, choked him, and shoved him against a wall. (ECF
No. 1 at 3.) Ali claims that Jenkins choked him until he
“almost passed out” and that other officers had
to come to help Ali. (Id.) Ali explains that the
attack caused him severe bruising and left him with
difficulty moving his neck and swallowing, but he alleges
that “no medical treatment had been done.”
(Id. at 4.) He seeks “appropriate
charges” and compensatory damages. (Id.)
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 is proceeding in
forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). 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. §
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). 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 F.3d 606, 609 (3d
Cir. 2011); see also West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
Substantive Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
bars State punishment of persons who are not convicted of a
crime, including those who are civilly committed. See
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979); Hubbard
v. Taylor, 399 F.3d 150, 166 (3d Cir. 2005).
(See ECF No. 1.) Whether a condition of civil
confinement is unconstitutional thus turns on whether it is
imposed for the purpose of punishment or whether it is
incidental to a legitimate government purpose. Bell,
441 U.S. at 435-39. Here, Ali sufficiently pleads that
Jenkin's attack on him was an ...