United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JAMES CLAUSO Plaintiff, Pro Se
L. Hillman, United States District Judge.
before the Court is the complaint and motion for a temporary
restraining order of Plaintiff Thomas James Clauso. (ECF No.
1). As Plaintiff is a convicted prisoner who has previously
been granted in forma pauperis status, this Court is required
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A to
screen Plaintiff's complaint and dismiss it if it is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or
seeks damages from a party immune to suit.
following reasons, this Court will dismiss Plaintiff's
false charge and destruction of property claims as to all
relevant Defendants, will dismiss Rutgers Correctional Health
Care from this matter without prejudice, will permit
Plaintiff's remaining claims to proceed, and will deny
Plaintiff's motion seeking a temporary restraining order
(ECF No. 1 at 29-31) without prejudice.
Thomas James Clauso, is a convicted state prisoner who is
currently incarcerated at South Woods State Prison. Plaintiff
is elderly, and suffers from unspecified health issues which
require that he use either a cane, walker, or wheelchair to
move around. (ECF No. 1 at 11). According to the complaint,
at some point in May 2018, Plaintiff was charged by Sergeant
Chard with threatening to stab another guard named Martinelli
with a screwdriver Plaintiff kept in his cell, a threat
Plaintiff denies having made. (Id. at 1, 12).
Plaintiff asserts that these charges were later dropped.
(Id. at 18). Regardless, following these false
charges, Chard, Martinelli, and two other guards named Hanson
and Goldsborough began to harass Plaintiff apparently both
because of the false charge and because Plaintiff “gets
along to[o] well with black people.” (Id. at
12, 4, 24).
to Plaintiff, all three guards are racists who frequently
make use of racial epithets against black people, and at
least one - Chard - told Plaintiff that he was an avowed
Nazi. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that Chard has
frequently threatened to put him in his “iron
maiden” - which the complaint suggests may actually be a
term used by the guards for one of the mental health watch
cells which Plaintiff refers to as the “rubber room,
” and claims that he has used this “iron
maiden” to kill black inmates in the past.
(Id. at 12). Chard apparently also told Plaintiff
that he learned unspecified torture techniques “from
Apartheid.” (Id. at 12).
addition to these allegations of harassment and racial
epithets, Plaintiff's complaint also alleges various
claims related to the conditions of his confinement.
According to Plaintiff, Plaintiff was for a period of a few
weeks confined to his cell, denied access to a shower, denied
exercise time, denied his walking equipment or a wheelchair,
and was essentially left to fester in his cell by Chard,
Hansen, and Martinelli. Plaintiff further alleges that the
guards refused to turn on the lights in his cell.
(Id. at 12-21).
conditions have led to him suffering from a rash, for which
he was eventually given a cream by the medical department
that proved ineffective without proper cleaning, and various
other physical and mental health issues. (Id.).
Throughout this period, Plaintiff was also threatened by the
three named guards, and in one incident Plaintiff was
physically assaulted by Goldsborough during a handcuffing
which resulted in Plaintiff's arm being dislocated
without reason. (Id. at 24).
point during this period of maltreatment, in late May 2018,
Plaintiff placed a sick call slip seeking mental health
treatment. (Id. at 12-13, 25). Mental health nurses,
including nurse Amanda Williams, thereafter came to see him
to ask him questions about his request, which Plaintiff
refused to answer with the above named guards present.
(Id.). Apparently unhappy with this refusal,
Williams summoned the guards, but Plaintiff continued to
refuse to answer the questions. (Id.).
and Williams thereafter had plaintiff placed in the
“rubber room” without first seeking proper
authorization from a doctor. (Id.) During this time
in the “rubber room”, Plaintiff was left naked in
the room without his walking equipment and thus was forced to
endure the dirt, mess, and biological material that was on
the floor of that room while the guards and Williams watched.
(Id. at 25-26). Plaintiff remained in that room
until he was seen by a doctor several days later who released
him as there was no basis for this confinement to the rubber
room. (Id.). Plaintiff was thereafter returned to
his cell, where the above referenced maltreatment continued.
Plaintiff's period of time without yard time or a shower
apparently went on for at least twenty-one total days.
(Id. at 31).
further alleges that throughout this time period, the four
named guards destroyed many of his possessions and several
hundred pages of documents he had copied. (Id. at
12-25). Plaintiff also claims that Goldsborough began
intercepting his legal mail, forging Plaintiff's
signature on documents, and sending them back to various
courts without ever delivering the mail to Plaintiff.
(Id. at 24). Goldsborough apparently also prevents
legal mail from being delivered to Plaintiff in those
instances in which he does not engage in this alleged
addition to the above-named individuals, Plaintiff also seeks
to bring claims against the warden of South Woods State
Prison, Willie Bonds, based on his having filed grievances
and other letters seeking to raise these issues to Bonds'
attention. (Id. at 22-23). Plaintiff alleges that
Bonds, however, fully approved of the situation and told
Goldsborough to tell Plaintiff to cease his complaints or he
would have Chard “finish [him] off.”
(Id.). Plaintiff also seeks to raise a claim against
Rutgers Medical based on its running of the prison medical
department, but Plaintiff provides scant detail about this
claim other than to assert that he believes Rutgers Medical
runs the facility poorly and overcharges the state.
(Id. at 11). Plaintiff identifies no policy or
practice of Rutgers Medical which resulted in the alleged
violations of his rights.