ODUMS v. SOUTH WOODS STATE PRISON et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 2/22/2017. (rtm, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
SOUTH WOODS STATE PRISON,
Civil Action No. 16-9145(RMB)
BUMB, District Judge:
Plaintiff Elonzio Odums, a prisoner confined at South Woods
action in forma pauperis, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
alleges violations of his constitutional rights by the prison,
Based on his affidavit of indigence and
the absence of three qualifying dismissals within 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g), the Court will grant Plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), and order the
Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint.
At this time, the Court must review the Complaint pursuant
to to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A to determine whether
it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
Plaintiff alleged the following in his Complaint.1
21, 2016, Plaintiff saw a doctor at South Woods State Prison,
and the doctor scraped the bottom of Plaintiff’s foot.
ECF No. 1, ¶13.)
The doctor advised Plaintiff not to walk or
stand on his foot for a few days.
(Id., ¶14.) Plaintiff is
confined in a wheelchair because his other leg was amputated at
(Id., ¶¶14, 17.)
As Plaintiff was returning to the minimum unit that day, he
was told to get into the metal detector chair (“boss chair”).
Plaintiff told Officer Donaghy that he could not
stand on his foot because Dr. Farrow had just scraped it.
On September 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed a civil rights action in
this Court alleging certain facts identical to those raised in
this action filed on December 9, 2016. See Odums v. New Jersey
Department of Corrections, et al., Civil Action No. 16-5950(RBK)
(D.N.J. Sept. 26, 2016) (ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 22-30.) It appears that
Plaintiff may have mistakenly included a page of his prior
Complaint from Civil Action No. 16-5950 as the third page in the
There are two sets of paragraphs 22-32 in
the present Complaint.
The Court will strike the first
paragraphs 2-32 (ECF No. 1 at 3) because they are duplicative of
the allegations in Civil Action No. 16-5950. Plaintiff may file
an amended complaint if the allegations on this page are in fact
new allegations relating to a different incident than the one
described in Civil Action No. 16-5950.
When Donaghy insisted that Plaintiff stand up, Plaintiff
asked to see a Sergeant.
Sergeant Vernell told Plaintiff to get in the boss chair or
go to lockup.
Plaintiff asked Sergeant Vernell if
witnesses and told Plaintiff to get in the boss chair.
Plaintiff tried to stand but he fell.
Plaintiff asked for assistance but Vernell told him to get up on
Plaintiff was then placed in lockup for
five days, and given a suspended sentence.
(ECF No. 1 at 4,
For relief, Plaintiff seeks one million dollars each from
Willie Bonds, the Administrator of South Woods State Prison, and
(ECF No. 1 at 4, ¶27.)
II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
A pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.)
contained in a complaint.”
A court need not accept legal
threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, do not
suffice to state a claim.
Thus, “a court considering a
motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at 679.
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must
be supported by factual allegations.” Id.
If a complaint can be
remedied by an amendment, a district court may not dismiss the
Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir.
A court must liberally construe a pro se complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
III. SECTION 1983 CLAIMS
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
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 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 injured
in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress ....
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.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988); Piecknick v. Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250, 1255–56 (3d
South Woods State Prison
A prison is not a “person” who may be sued under 42 U.S.C.
Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973)
Philadelphia, 413 F.2d 84 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 396 U.S.
1046 (1970)); Lenhart v. Pennsylvania, 528 F. App’x 111, 114 (3d
Willie Bonds and C. Cline
Complaint is that they are, respectively, the Administrator at
Plaintiff has not alleged any personal involvement of Bonds or
Cline in the misconduct he alleges in the Complaint.
responsible for the misconduct of their employees, there is no
respondeat superior liability under § 1983.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 676 (2009) (“Government officials may not be held liable
for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a
dismiss the claims against Willie Bonds and C. Cline without
If Plaintiff can allege facts showing the personal
involvement of Bonds or Cline in violating his constitutional
rights, he may amend his Complaint.
Officer Donaghy and Sergeant Vernell
Vernell may proceed.
5950(RBK), paragraphs 22-32 of the Complaint.
(ECF No. 1 at 3.)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A, the Court
will dismiss the § 1983 claims against South Woods State Prison
against Willie Bonds and C. Cline without prejudice.
An appropriate order follows.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
United States District Judge
Dated: February 22, 2017
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