TAYLOR v. NO DEFENDANT LISTED
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 3/31/2017. (dmr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
CARNELL JERMAINE TAYLOR,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-08037 (JBS-AMD)
NO DEFENDANT LISTED,
Carnell Jermaine Taylor, Plaintiff Pro Se
212 Branch Village
Camden, NJ 08104
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Carnell Jermaine Taylor presumably1 seeks to
bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
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.
As discussed below, Plaintiff’s complaint is lacking in
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss the complaint without prejudice for failure to state a
claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
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 presumably brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 19832 for alleged violations of Plaintiff’s
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
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)).3 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
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.
injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper
proceeding for redress . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
3 “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,
Plaintiff has not named a defendant in the complaint.
The Complaint therefore must be dismissed.
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 within 30 days of the date of this order.
Plaintiff is 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. The majority of the complaint is
blank. Plaintiff states that the events giving rise to his
claims occurred at the Camden County Jail, but the remainder of
the fact section of the complaint is blank. Complaint § III. In
Section IV, “Injuries,” Plaintiff states: “I was climbing off of
the top bunk in seven day. I slipped and landed on the metal
table on my side breaking a rib and bruising 1 or 2 others. The
medical staff did a physical examination. The medical diagnosis
was bruised ribs. I was released Dec. 11th 2015 and was later
told by Cooper Emergency Physician that my rib was indeed broken
and 1 or 2 badly bruised.” Even accepting these statements as
true for screening purposes only, there is not enough factual
support for the Court to infer a constitutional violation has
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the complaint
must be liberally construed. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976). However, even liberally construing Plaintiff’s
allegations, the complaint does not set forth a prima facie case
under § 1983. Plaintiff’s statement that he fell while climbing
out of a bunk does not allege or imply that any other person may
be liable or responsible for his fall. Moreover, it does not
appear that Plaintiff seeks to set forth a claim for denial of
medical care because he alleges that he was examined and
diagnosed by the medical staff.4 In sum, Plaintiff has not set
forth facts to demonstrate that a person acting under color of
state law deprived him of a federal right.
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.
In order to set forth a cognizable claim for a violation of his
right to adequate medical care, an inmate must allege: (1) a
serious medical need; and (2) behavior on the part of prison
officials that constitutes deliberate indifference to that need.
See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106; Natale v. Camden Cnty. Corr.
Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003). Plaintiff’s
allegations do not demonstrate deliberate indifference. Taken a
step further, even if Plaintiff intends to seek relief because
the medical staff diagnosed his ribs as bruised when he in fact
had one broken rib, such a claim would sound, if at all, as
medical malpractice, which is a state law tort claim that is not
actionable under § 1983. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106.
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.5 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.
March 31, 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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