BRADLEY v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY
OPINION FILED. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/2/17. (js)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JAMES D. BRADLEY,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06814 (JBS-AMD)
STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
James D. Bradley, Plaintiff Pro Se
35 Brookshire Road
Sicklerville, NJ 08081
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff James D. Bradley seeks to bring a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State
of New Jersey for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) requires courts to review
complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. Courts 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.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (1)
dismiss the Complaint with prejudice as to claims made against
the State of New Jersey because Congress did not expressly
abrogate sovereign immunity when it passed § 1983; and (2)
dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a
claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
First, Plaintiff’s claims against the State of New
Jersey must be dismissed based on the Eleventh Amendment to the
United States Constitution, which 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 be dismissed with
prejudice. As Plaintiff may be able to amend his complaint to
name a specific person responsible for the alleged conditions of
confinement, the Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend his
Second, with respect to Plaintiff’s allegations of
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, he does not plead
sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that a
constitutional violation has occurred in order to survive this
Court’s review under § 1915.
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’s Complaint states: “I want the Court to
compensate me for my time in Camden County Jail from March to
the end of June . . . 2016 . . . for inhumane and unsafe living
conditions. I was sleeping under metal tabels [sic] and chairs
on the floor which was very dirty with bugs and mouse urine and
other bodily fluids, and hit my head on the steal [sic] table
waking up numerous times. Also was force[d] to sleep on the
floor practically under toilet due to overcrowding in 1 cell.
[I] had urine splashed on my mat and clothes.” Complaint §§ V,
Plaintiff is “looking for $1,000.00 - $5,000.00 for my
inhumane living conditions and emotional destress [sic].” Id. §
Even accepting these statements as true for screening
purposes only, there is not enough factual support for the Court
to infer that 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.”). Some relevant factors are the dates and length of
the confinement(s), whether Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee or
convicted prisoner, etc.
As Plaintiff may be able to amend his 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.
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.1 Id.
For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim. The
Court will reopen the matter in the event Plaintiff files an
amended complaint within the time allotted by the Court.
An appropriate order follows.
February 2, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
The amended complaint shall be subject to screening prior to
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