GLASS v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION FILED. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 4/21/17. (js)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
TARA LANESE GLASS,
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06486 (JBS-AMD)
Tara Lanese Glass, Plaintiff Pro Se
419 Siegfried Avenue
Chesilhurst, NJ 08089
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Tara Lanese Glass seeks to bring an amended
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”). Amended Complaint,
Docket Entry 9. On January 18, 2017, Plaintiff’s original
complaint was dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a
claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii) and Plaintiff
was granted leave to amend the complaint within thirty days.
Docket Entry 8. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on March
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
For the reasons set forth below, and for substantially
similar reasons as those set forth in this Court’s prior Opinion
(Docket Entry 7), the Court will dismiss the amended complaint
without prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C.
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. UPMS
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).
“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). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007)).
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 19831 for alleged violations of Plaintiff’s constitutional
rights. In order to set forth a prima facie case under § 1983, a
plaintiff must show: “(1) a person deprived him of a federal
right; and (2) the person who deprived him of that right acted
under color of state or territorial law.” Groman v. Twp. of
Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980)).
Generally, for purposes of actions under § 1983,
“[t]he term ‘persons’ includes local and state officers acting
under color of state law.” Carver v. Foerster, 102 F.3d 96, 99
(3d Cir. 1996) (citing Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991)).2 To
say that a person was “acting under color of state law” means
that the defendant in a § 1983 action “exercised power [that the
defendant] possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer [was] clothed with the authority of
Section 1983 provides: “Every person who, under color of any
statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State .
. . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the
United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to
the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured
by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party
injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper
proceeding for redress . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
2 “Person” is not strictly limited to individuals who are state
and local government employees, however. For example,
municipalities and other local government units, such as
counties, also are considered “persons” for purposes of § 1983.
See Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658,
state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988) (citation
omitted). Generally, then, “a public employee acts under color
of state law while acting in his official capacity or while
exercising his responsibilities pursuant to state law.” Id.
Because Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged that a
“person” deprived her of a federal right, the amended complaint
does not meet the standards necessary to set forth a prima facie
case under § 1983. In the amended complaint (as was the case in
the original complaint), Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from
CCCF for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
The CCCF, however, is not a “person” within the meaning of
§ 1983; therefore, as the Court previously stated, the claims
against it must be dismissed with prejudice. See Crawford v.
McMillian, 660 F. App’x 113, 116 (3d Cir. 2016) (“[T]he prison
is not an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”)
(citing Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973)).
Because the claims against the CCCF must be dismissed with
prejudice, the claims may not proceed and Plaintiff may not name
the CCCF as a defendant.
Plaintiff may be able to amend the complaint to name a
person or persons who were personally involved in the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, however. To that
end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the
complaint one final time within 30 days of the date of this
Because the amended complaint does not correct the
deficiencies contained in the original complaint, Plaintiff is
again advised that the amended complaint must plead sufficient
facts to support a reasonable inference that a constitutional
violation has occurred in order to survive this Court’s review
under § 1915. Regarding the dates or time periods giving rise to
Plaintiff’s claims, Plaintiff states, “Unknown – check with the
facility.”3 Am. Complaint § III. Plaintiff states: “I was locked
up in the Camden County Jail and had to sleep on the hard floor
also striped [sic] searched by a correctional officer. I was
told to strip, take a cold shower with lice medicine.” Id. Even
accepting these amended statements as true for screening
purposes only, there is still not enough factual support for the
Court to infer a constitutional violation has occurred.
Plaintiff is reminded that even though pro se pleadings are
construed liberally and given the benefit of all reasonable
inferences, Plaintiff still bears the burden of supplying the
facts of her claim. See, e.g., Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc.,
704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (“pro se litigants still must
allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a
claim”). It is not for the Court to investigate the facts of
Plaintiff’s claim given that “[d]istrict judges have no
obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”
Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004).
As the Court previously explained, the mere fact that
an individual is lodged temporarily in a cell with more persons
than its intended design does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
348–50 (1981) (holding double-celling by itself did not violate
Eighth Amendment); Carson v. Mulvihill, 488 F. App'x 554, 560
(3d Cir. 2012) (“[M]ere double-bunking does not constitute
punishment, because there is no ‘one man, one cell principle
lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.’”
(quoting Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 542 (1979))). More is
needed to demonstrate that such crowded conditions, for a
pretrial detainee, shocks the conscience and thus violates due
process rights. See Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 233 (3d
Cir. 2008) (noting due process analysis requires courts to
consider whether the totality of the conditions “cause[s]
inmates to endure such genuine privations and hardship over an
extended period of time, that the adverse conditions become
excessive in relation to the purposes assigned to them.”). Some
relevant factors are the dates and length of the confinement(s),
whether Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee or convicted prisoner,
Moreover, Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged a
Fourth Amendment violation for an improper strip search. Under
the Fourth Amendment, inmates have a limited right of bodily
privacy “subject to reasonable intrusions necessitated by the
prison setting.” Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d 313, 325 (3d Cir.
2016). This right is very narrow, however. Id. at 326.
“The test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment
. . . requires a balancing of the need for the particular search
against the invasion of personal rights that the search entails.
Courts must consider the scope of the particular intrusion, the
manner in which it is conducted, the justification for
initiating it, and the place in which it is conducted.” Bell v.
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559 (1979). A prisoner search policy is
constitutional if it strikes a reasonable balance between the
inmate's privacy and the needs of the institution. Parkell, 833
F.3d at 326 (citing Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of
Cty. of Burlington, 132 S. Ct. 1510, 1515, 1517 (2012)).
Plaintiff’s allegations that she was “striped [sic]
searched by a correctional officer” and that she was “told to
strip, take a cold shower with lice medicine” are insufficient
to state a claim for relief. In the absence of further facts
regarding the circumstances of the search,4 the claim cannot
The complaint is also not entirely clear on whether the
allegations regarding the strip search by a correctional officer
and the delousing shower describe the same event or separate
occurrences. The Supreme Court has observed, however, that
“[c]orrectional officials have a significant interest in
conducting a thorough search as a standard part of the intake
process,” in part due to “the danger of introducing lice or
contagious infections.” Florence, 132 S. Ct. at 1518.
proceed at this time. Plaintiff may amend this claim in a second
amended complaint, however.
As Plaintiff may yet be able to amend her complaint to
address the deficiencies noted by the Court, the Court once more
shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint within 30
days of the date of this order.5 However, this shall be
Plaintiff’s final opportunity to amend the complaint for
screening purposes. If Plaintiff elects to amend a second time
and the second amended complaint is insufficient to survive the
Court’s review under § 1915, the complaint will be dismissed
with prejudice, meaning that Plaintiff will not be granted leave
to amend a third time.
Plaintiff is reminded that when an amended complaint
is filed, any previous complaints no longer perform any function
in the case and cannot be utilized to cure defects in the
amended complaint, unless the relevant portion is specifically
incorporated in the new complaint. 6 Wright, Miller & Kane,
Federal Practice and Procedure 1476 (2d ed. 1990) (footnotes
omitted). An amended complaint may adopt some or all of the
Plaintiff’s first amended complaint was not filed within 30
days of the date of the Order dismissing the original complaint
and therefore was not timely filed. Given that Plaintiff’s
amended complaint was filed 35 days late, the Court, in
considering Plaintiff’s amended complaint, has extended
Plaintiff considerable leeway. Plaintiff is admonished, however,
that she is to adhere to the Court’s ordered deadlines and that
such latitude may not be as freely granted in the future.
allegations in the prior complaint, but the identification of
the particular allegations to be adopted must be clear and
explicit. Id. To avoid confusion, the safer course is to file an
amended complaint that is complete in itself.6 Id.
For the reasons stated above, the amended complaint is
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim. The
Court will reopen the matter in the event Plaintiff files a
second amended complaint within the time allotted by the Court.
An appropriate order follows.
April 21, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
The second amended complaint shall be subject to screening
prior to service.
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