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Vazquez v. Camden County Jail

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 29, 2019

NILSA VAZQUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.

          OPINION

          Robert B. Kugler United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Nilsa Vazquez, is proceeding pro se with a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the reasons stated in this Opinion, the Court will dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff's claims against the Camden County Jail but provide Plaintiff with an opportunity to file an amended complaint.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court will construe the factual allegations of the Complaint as true for the purpose of this Opinion. Plaintiff names only the Camden County Jail as a Defendant in this matter.

         With great liberality, the Court gleans from Complaint that Plaintiff takes issue with the strip searches and living conditions at the jail. In particular, she alleges that the jail housed four to five women in a cell with only two bunkbeds, forced her to sleep on the floor, and that the cells were unsanitary. Plaintiff encountered these conditions on seven different dates of incarceration from 1996 to 2008.

         Over a decade later, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint, which briefly lists her grievances, but does not explicitly seek any relief.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         District courts must review complaints in civil actions in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). District courts may 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. See Id. According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, [1] the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). “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 [alleged] misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Moreover, while courts liberally construe pro se pleadings, “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) (citation omitted).

         In addition to these pleading rules, however, a complaint must satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which states that a complaint must contain:

(a) A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain[:] (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

         “Thus, a pro se plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint must recite factual allegations which are sufficient to raise the plaintiff's claimed right to relief beyond the level of mere speculation, set forth in a ‘short and plain' statement of a cause of action.” Johnson v. Koehler, No. 18-00807, 2019 WL 1231679, at *3 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 15, 2019). Stated differently, Rule 8 requires a showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of her civil rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution, and related claims. To succeed on a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege two things: first, a violation of a right under the Constitution, and second, that a “person” acting under color of state law committed the ...


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