JACKSON v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/2/2017. (tf, n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
OTTIS R. JACKSON,
No. 16-cv-06761 (JBS-AMD)
Ottis R. Jackson
Plaintiff Pro Se
212 Parker Avenue
Oaklyn, NJ 08107
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Ottis R. Jackson seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against the Camden County Correctional Facility
(“CCCF”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
28 U.S.C. 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 Section 1915(e)(2)(B)
because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (1)
dismiss the Complaint with prejudice as to claims made against
the CCJ because defendant is not a “state actor” within the
meaning of § 1983; and (2) dismiss the Complaint without
prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff’s Complaint states: “Place[d] in over-crowded
cells, confined spaces with sick, violent and angry individuals.
Slept on floors because too many people were placed in the cell.
I told them that I had a bad back, a heart condition, and PTSD.
Correction officers failed to acknowledge my medical condition
with my bad back, heart condition, and PTSD.” Complaint §
Plaintiff alleges to have suffered “severe back injuries
from sleeping on the floor, anxiety attacks, giving [sic] no
medical attention. Denied medication I take [sic] before
incarceration.” Id. § IV.
With respect to the time of the alleged events giving rise
to his claims, Plaintiff states: “Detain [sic] on more than one
occasion[;] exact dates unknown[.] Anywhere from 2002-2015 on.”
Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff “would like the courts to compensate me for
inhumane treatment, overcrowding, ignoring my pleas to seek
medical attention, and the physical and mental anguish I
suffered. Violation of my civil rights. No amount of money can
account for my horrific experience. I’m seeking $250,000.” Id. §
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
To survive sua sponte screening under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) for failure to state a claim, a 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 asserts claims against CCCF for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Primarily, the Complaint must be dismissed as the CCCF is
not a “state actor” within the meaning of § 1983. See, e.g.,
Grabow v. Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F. Supp. 537, 538–
39 (D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a “person” under
§ 1983). Accordingly, the claims against CCCF must be dismissed
Second, even accepting the statements as true for screening
purposes only, there is not enough factual support for the Court
to infer a constitutional violation has occurred. 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 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.”).
As Plaintiff may be able to amend the complaint to address
the deficiencies noted by the Court, the Court shall grant
Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint within 30 days of the
date of this order.1
In the event Plaintiff files an amended complaint, he
should include specific facts, such as the dates and length of
Plaintiff’s confinement(s), whether Plaintiff was a pretrial
detainee or convicted prisoner, any specific individuals who
were involved in creating or failing to remedy the conditions of
confinement, and any other relevant facts regarding the
conditions of confinement. Conclusory statements are not enough.
Plaintiff should note that when an amended complaint is
filed, the original complaint no longer performs 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
allegations in the original complaint,2 but the identification of
The amended complaint shall be subject to screening prior to
To the extent the complaint seeks relief for conditions
Plaintiff encountered prior to October 5, 2014, those claims are
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. Id. The amended
complaint may not adopt or repeat claims that have been
dismissed with prejudice by the Court.
For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is: (a)
dismissed with prejudice as to the CCCF; and (b) dismissed
without prejudice for failure to state a claim.
An appropriate order follows.
February 2, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
barred by the statute of limitations. Claims brought under §
1983 are governed by New Jersey's two-year limitations period
for personal injury. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276
(1985); Dique v. N.J. State Police, 603 F.3d 181, 185 (3d Cir.
2010). “Under federal law, a cause of action accrues when the
plaintiff knew or should have known of the injury upon which the
action is based.” Montanez v. Sec'y Pa. Dep't of Corr., 773 F.3d
472, 480 (3d Cir. 2014). The allegedly unconstitutional
conditions of confinement would have been immediately apparent
to Plaintiff; therefore, the statute of limitations on some of
Plaintiff’s claims expired two years after his release. In the
event Plaintiff elects to file an amended complaint, he should
limit his complaint to confinements in which he was released
after October 5, 2014.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?