ROBINSON v. NJ DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/6/17. (jbk, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06767 (JBS-AMD)
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT
OF CORRECTIONS, et al.,
Plaintiff Pro Se
1010 Kenwood Avenue
Camden, NJ 08104
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Eugene Robinson seeks to bring a complaint
against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“NJDC”) and
the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”). Complaint
Docket Entry 1.
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.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
requires pleadings to contain “a short and plain statement of
the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . .
a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief; and demand for the relief sought . . . .”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1)-(3).
Plaintiff has named CCCF and the NJDC as the
defendants in the complaint; however, the complaint itself is
blank. Complaint §§ III-V. As such, the Court cannot discern
what cause of action Plaintiff intends to pursue against
defendants. The complaint must therefore be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Plaintiff may amend the complaint within 30 days of
the date of this order.1 Any amended complaint must comply with
Rule 8 and 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
Any amended complaint shall be subject to screening before
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 is further advised that the NJDC and the
CCCF because defendants are not “state actors” within the
meaning of § 1983. See Crawford v. McMillian, No. 16-3412, 2016
WL 6134846 (3d Cir. Oct. 21, 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)); Grabow v. Southern
State Corr. Facility, 726 F. Supp. 537, 538–39 (D.N.J. 1989)
(correctional facility is not a “person” under § 1983); Accord
Glaspie v. Gloucester County New Jersey, No. 15-7691, 2016 WL
4718140, at *2 (D.N.J. Sept. 7, 2016) (Department of Corrections
is not a “person” subject to § 1983 liability). Plaintiff must
name someone with personal involvement in the alleged violation
as the defendant if he intends to pursue monetary damages.
Second, Plaintiff’s claims against the NJDC also must
be dismissed with prejudice on the basis of sovereign immunity.
Absent a clear waiver by a state of its Eleventh Amendment
immunity or a proper congressional abrogation of that immunity,
a federal court lacks jurisdiction to hear claims brought by an
individual against a state. Snyder v. Baumecker, 708 F. Supp.
1451, 1455 (D.N.J. 1989) (citing Pennhurst State School and
Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 99, 104 S. Ct. 900, 907, 79
L.Ed.2d 67 (1984)). The Eleventh Amendment to the United States
Constitution provides: “The Judicial power of the United States
shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity,
commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by
Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any
Foreign State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI. Plaintiff may not bring a
suit against the State in federal court unless Congress has
expressly abrogated New Jersey's sovereign immunity or the State
consents to being sued in federal court. Will v. Michigan Dep't
of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). Here, Congress did not
expressly abrogate sovereign immunity when it passed § 1983, see
id., and there is no indication New Jersey has consented to
Plaintiff's suit. The claims against the State of New Jersey
must therefore be dismissed with prejudice.
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, 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. 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 NJDC; and (b)
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim.
An appropriate order follows.
February 6, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
Plaintiff dated his signed Complaint “March 5, 2012.” The
Complaint was received by the Court on October 7, 2016.
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?