LINDSAY v. SALEM COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 10/25/2016. (TH, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
SALEM COUNTY CORR. FACILITY,
LETHRA B. LINDSAY,
Civ. No. 16-7699 (NLH)
Lethra B. Lindsay
2216 Baird Blvd.
Camden, NJ 08105
Plaintiff Pro se
HILLMAN, District Judge
Plaintiff Lethra B. Lindsay seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Salem County
(ECF No. 1.)
Based on her affidavit of
indigence (ECF No. 1-1), the Court will grant her leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint
without prejudice for failure to state a claim.
28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff brings this civil rights action, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, against Defendant Salem County Correctional
The following factual allegations are taken
from the Complaint, and are accepted for purposes of this
The Court has made no findings as to the
veracity of Plaintiff’s allegations.
From approximately November 6, 2015 through December 30,
2015, Plaintiff alleges that she was forced to sleep on the
floor of a cell in SCCF because she was housed with two other
women and there were only two available bunk beds.
III(C), ECF No. 1.)
Plaintiff states that as a result of
sleeping on the floor, her back and legs “stiffened up.”
She requested “Bengay” and Tylenol and it was provided by the
Plaintiff is requesting $2,500 in damages.
(Compl. ¶ V.)
A. Legal Standard
1. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal
Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996)
(“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints in those civil
actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental
employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim
with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e.
PLRA directs district courts to 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 as indigent.
According to the Supreme Court’s decision in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions’ or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
To survive sua sponte
screening for failure to state a claim1, the complaint must
allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is
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.”
Belmont v. MB
Inv. Partners, Inc., 708 F.3d 470, 483 n.17 (3d Cir. 2012)
“The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the
same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane v. Seana, 506 F. App’x
120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d
220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 F. App’x 230,
232 (3d Cir. 2012) (discussing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1));
Courteau v. United States, 287 F. App’x 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008)
(discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)).
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
Moreover, while pro se
pleadings are liberally construed, “pro se litigants still must
allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim.”
Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013)
Section 1983 Actions
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights.
Section 1983 provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory
... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of
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
Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, that the
alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting
under color of state law.
See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988); Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff names Salem County Correctional Facility as the
only defendant in this matter.
However, a correctional facility
is not a “state actor” within the meaning of § 1983 and the
claims against it must be dismissed with prejudice.
Grabow v. Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F. Supp. 537, 538–
39 (D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a “person” under
Because Plaintiff may be able to amend the complaint
to name state actors who were personally involved in the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, the Court will grant
Plaintiff leave to amend the Complaint within 30 days of the
date of this order.
Plaintiff is advised that any 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.
According to the factual
allegations in the instant Complaint, Plaintiff is seeking
$2,500 in damages because she sleep on the floor of a double
cell with two other women for approximately two months.
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.
It is well established that housing multiple prisoners in a
single cell is not per se unconstitutional.
See, e.g., Nami v.
Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 66 (3d Cir. 1996) (citing Rhodes v. Chapman,
452 U.S. 337, 347–49 (1981)); 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
More is needed to demonstrate that such crowded
conditions, for a pretrial detainee, violates due process
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.”).
To that end, in the event Plaintiff files an amended
complaint, she should include specific facts, such as whether
she 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.
For foregoing reasons, the Complaint will be dismissed
without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Because it is conceivable that Plaintiff may be able to
supplement her pleading with facts sufficient to overcome the
deficiencies noted herein, the Court will grant Plaintiff leave
to move to re-open this case and to file an amended complaint.2
An appropriate Order follows.
s/ Noel L. Hillman
NOEL L. HILLMAN
United States District Judge
Dated: October 25, 2016
At Camden, New Jersey
Plaintiff should note that when an amended complaint is filed,
it supersedes the original and renders it of no legal effect,
unless the amended complaint specifically refers to or adopts
the earlier pleading. See West Run Student Housing Associates,
LLC v. Huntington National Bank, 712 F.3d 165, 171 (3d Cir.
2013)(collecting cases); see also 6 CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT ARTHUR R.
MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 1476 (3d ed. 2008). To avoid
confusion, the safer practice is to submit an amended complaint
that is complete in itself. Id.
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