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Cango v. Bergen County Jail Administrator

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 15, 2019

EUGENY CANGO, Plaintiff,
v.
BERGEN COUNTY JAIL ADMINISTRATOR, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          KEVIN McNULTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Eugeny Cango, is currently a state prisoner incarcerated at the South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey. At the time of the events giving rise to his pro se civil complaint, Mr. Cango was a pretrial detainee at the Bergen County Jail ("BCJ").

         This Court must screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A to determine whether the complaint is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the following reasons, the complaint will be permitted to proceed in part.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The factual allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening opinion. Mr. Cango names several John Does as defendants in his complaint; they are: (1) BCJ Administrator - John Doe 1; (2) BCJ Warden - John Doe 2; (3) Bergen County Sheriffs Officers - John Does 3-12; (4) BCJ Classification Committee Members, Officials & Civil Employees-John Doe's 13-18; and BCJ Healthcare Administrator & Staff- John Does 19-22.[1]

         Plaintiff states that he was a pretrial detainee lodged at the BCJ. He was detained on sexual assault charges. Upon his arrival at BCJ, Mr. Cango was placed on suicide watch. However, he was cleared to general population by the John Does from BCJ Healthcare and the John Does of the BCJ Classification Committee. Mr. Cango was then moved into a general population cellblock where he was immediately threatened with harm by other prisoners. Mr. Cango states that these threats were a result of the media coverage surrounding his sexual assault charges.

         Mr. Cango informed the John Does of the Bergen County Sheriffs Officers about these threats. They gave Mr. Cango of protective custody housing or being moved to a different general population cellblock. Mr. Cango opted to try a different general population cellblock.

         Upon being moved to a different cellblock, Mr. Cango was again threatened with harm by inmates for the same reason. Mr. Cango again notified John Does from the Sheriffs Office about these threats. This time, the Sheriffs Office transferred Mr. Cango to protective custody.

         After this transfer, Mr. Cango suffered a psychological traumatic episode as a result of being segregated. After the John Does from BCJ Healthcare and the Classification Committee cleared him, he was transferred out of protective custody back to a general population cellblock.

         Back in general population, Mr. Cango was again threated with harm by inmates. He again complained to the John Does from the Sheriffs Office. In this instance, the Sheriffs Office John Does told Mr. Cango to accept his current cellblock and deal with the threats, or else be prepared to receive a disciplinary charge along with an immediate transfer to the administrative segregation unit. Mr. Cango accepted his general population cellblock.

         Sometime thereafter, John Does from the Sheriffs Office entered Mr. Cango's cellblock and announced to all inmates that if they harmed Mr. Cango, they would face jail misconduct and "street" charges. Within a week, Mr. Cango alleges, inmates confronted him and offered to protect him from harm if they paid them in commissary items. They stated that if Mr. Cango did not pay them, the inmates would beat and rape Mr. Cango or kill him and his family. Mr. Cango paid these inmates off as demanded.

         During this time, Mr. Cango witnessed fights amongst inmates in his cellblock. Most occurred without the knowledge of the John Doe Sheriffs Officers, but the John Does intervened in some of them.

         After three months of residing in the cellblock, Mr. Cango was sexually assaulted by one of the inmates. Mr. Cango was threatened with harm if he informed anyone about the assault. Mr. Cango did not report the assault at the time. Ultimately, the inmate who assaulted Mr. Cango was involved in another altercation with another inmate, was apprehended by the John Does, and transferred out of the cellblock.

         After the assaulter was moved to a different cellblock, Mr. Cango disclosed the sexual assault on a nurse call medical slip. He did not want to disclose it to the Sheriffs Office John Does based on their prior responses to his complaints. A criminal investigation was initiated. Mr. Cango ...


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