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Stokes v. Atlantic County Jail

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 14, 2020

GEORGE STOKES, Plaintiff,
v.
ATLANTIC COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          George W. Stokes, 260218 Plaintiff Pro se

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff George Stokes, presently incarcerated in the Atlantic County Jail in Mays Landing, New Jersey, seeks to bring a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the Atlantic County Jail, Warden David Kelsey, service provider Jewish Family Services, and Director of Administration Gerald M. Henry. See ECF No. 1.

         At this time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint with prejudice. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges Jewish Family Services (“JFS”) provides inmate services at the Atlantic County Jail. ECF No. 1 at 18. Prior to Plaintiff's court appearance, he asked for a legal phone call but JFS responded that they did not place legal calls. ECF No. 1-2 at 5. They instructed him to write his attorney and set up a phone interview. Id. A few days later he asked again and JFS requested Plaintiff's attorney's name and phone numbers. Id. at 3.

         Plaintiff also states JFS discriminated against him. On thirteen separate occasions, he filed a request for information, namely addresses of people and organizations. ECF No. 1 at 18. Nine of these requests were granted, four were denied. Id. at 18-20.

         Plaintiff alleges that JFS denied any request that was related to his “education or financial growth.” Id. at 20. His April 17, 2018 request for a publisher's address; May 30, 2019 request for “information concerning government grants and small business loans [he] could apply for”; and his June 28, 2019 request for the address of the “marketing department” were all denied. Id. at 18-20. Plaintiff alleges JFS claimed they denied his June 28, 2019 request because it was not related to his case, but Plaintiff states none of his requests were case related. Id. at 19-20.

         Plaintiff applied for assistance in obtaining his New Jersey identification on July 23, 2018. Id. at 21. JFS informed Plaintiff he was not eligible for JFS services because he had “a gun charge and or serious charges.” Id.

         Plaintiff alleges JFS is discriminating against him because of the kind of charges levelled against him. He alleges Warden David Kelsey is the “over seer of jail functions” and Gerald M. Henry is the “Director of JFS.” Id. at 23.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. The Court must 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. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and is incarcerated.

         To survive sua sponte 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). “‘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.'” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a ...


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