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Norman v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 13, 2019

KEVIN NORMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAPTAIN CARLA TAYLOR and WARDEN DAVID OWENS, Defendants.

          Kevin Norman, Plaintiff Pro Se

          Anne E. Walters, Esquire Office of Camden County Counsel Attorney for Defendants

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary judgment (“the Motion”) of defendants, Warden David Owens and Captain Carla Taylor (collectively, “Defendants”) of the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) . (D.E. 23.) The Motion is being considered on the papers pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at CCCF during the period January 3, 2014 through approximately January 2016. (D.E. 1 at 4; D.E. 22-1 at 5; D.E. 22-9 at ¶4.) He is proceeding pro se with a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint (“the Complaint”) against the Defendants regarding the conditions of confinement during Plaintiff's incarceration at CCCF. (D.E. 1.)

         Plaintiff alleges that he “was made to sleep on a thin mat on the floor, ” and that CCCF had “poor air quality [with] dust and dirt build-up in the cell which turned into bacteria.” (D.E. 1 at 5.) He claims that he “was subjected to drinking dirty brown water” at CCCF. (Id. at 4.) He also contends that he brought the water situation to Defendants' attention, but that they “failed to correct the problem or find an alternative remedy.” (Ibid.)

         Plaintiff states that the alleged conditions of confinement caused him to suffer an infected scalp, a rash, headaches, dizziness, and dehydration. (Id. at 5-6.)

         Plaintiff seeks $50, 000 in damages for “pain[, ] suffering[, ] mental anguish[, ] and physical discomfort.” (Id. at 6.) He also asks that the Court: order water testing at CCCF; and compel CCCF to hire a full-time population control manager. (Ibid.)

         B. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 17, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiff's IFP Application and directed the Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint. (D.E. 2.) After screening Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, the Court ordered that the Complaint's Fourteenth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Defendants be allowed to proceed. (D.E. 4; D.E. 5.)

         Defendants filed an Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint on December 19, 2017. (D.E. 15.) On January 30, 2018, Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio issued a scheduling order requiring that all pretrial factual discovery be concluded by June 29, 2018. (D.E. 18.) Defendants served Plaintiff with their: (1) January 30, 2018 Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 Disclosures (D.E. 22-5 at 2-29); (2) February 14, 2018 document requests (D.E. 22-6 at 2 and 11-14); and (3) February 14, 2018 interrogatories. (D.E. 22-6 at 2-10.) Defendants' Motion states that Plaintiff has not served them with any discovery responses or disclosures. (D.E. 22-1 at 6-7.)

         On November 13, 2018, Defendants filed the motion for summary judgment now pending before the Court. (D.E. 22.) On December 6, 2018, Plaintiff made an oral request for extension of time to oppose the Motion. (D.E. 24.) The Court extended Plaintiff's deadline until December 17, 2018. (Ibid.) On December 18, 2018, Plaintiff submitted a written request for further extension of time to file opposition to the Motion. (D.E. 25.) The Court once again extended Plaintiff's deadline, this time until April 17, 2019. (D.E. 29.) As of the date of this Opinion, Plaintiff has not filed opposition to the Motion.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendants move for summary judgment on three grounds: (1) Plaintiff's failure to adduce evidence from which a reasonable fact finder could find unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCCF (D.E. 22-1 at 8-12); (2) the Complaint's mootness, in light of the Sixth and Amended Final Consent Decree in the class action Dittimus-Bey, et al. v. Camden Cty. Corr. Facility, et al., Docket No. 05-cv-0063 (D.N.J.) (“Dittimus-Bey”) (D.E. 22-1 at 14-15); and (3) Defendants' entitlement to qualified immunity, based on Plaintiff's failure to show that Defendants were aware of purported risk of serious harm or that they individually participated or acquiesced in the alleged wrongs. (D.E. 22-1 at 13-14.)

         This Court finds that: for the reasons discussed in Part IV, the mootness doctrine does not apply to Plaintiff's claims for monetary relief; but for the reasons discussed in Part V, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment by virtue of the lack of a genuine dispute of material fact. Given that summary judgment is proper, there being no ...


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