HALL v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 9/6/17. (jbk, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
LAMONT MARCEL HALL, Jr.,
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL,
Civ. Action No. 17-5789 (RMB)
BUMB, District Judge:
Plaintiff Lamont Marcel Hall, Jr., a pretrial detainee held
in Camden County Jail, in Camden, New Jersey, filed a civil
Plaintiff seeks to proceed without prepayment of fees (“in forma
pauperis” or “IFP”), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
App., ECF No. 1-3.)
Plaintiff, however, did not file a properly
completed IFP application because he did not submit “a certified
copy of the trust fund account statement . . . for the prisoner
for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the
complaint . . . , obtained from the appropriate official of each
prison at which the prisoner is or was confined,” required by 28
terminate this action, subject to reopening if Petitioner files
a complete IFP application or pays the filing fee.
Plaintiff should be aware, however, that if he is granted
in forma pauperis status, he must pay the full amount of the
$350 filing fee in installments.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
each month that the amount in the prisoner’s account exceeds
$10.00, until the $350.00 filing fee is paid, the agency having
custody of the prisoner shall assess, deduct from the prisoner’s
account, and forward to the Clerk of the Court, payment equal to
20% of the preceding month’s income credited to the prisoner’s
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Even if the full filing fee, or any part of it, has been
paid, the Court must dismiss the case if it finds that the
action is: (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
If the Court dismisses the case for any
of these reasons, the Act does not permit the prisoner to get
his filing fee back.
After Plaintiff completes his IFP application by submitting
his inmate trust fund account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, if he chooses
to do so, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28
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 relief.1
I. 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
This Court’s conclusive screening of Plaintiff’s claims is
reserved until he obtains in forma pauperis status. See
Izquierdo v. New Jersey, 532 F. App’x 71, 72-73 (3d Cir. July
25, 2013) (district court may decide whether to dismiss the
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) after leave to proceed
IFP is granted).
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.”
If a complaint can
be remedied by an amendment, a district court may not dismiss
the complaint with prejudice, but must permit the amendment.
Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir.
Plaintiff alleges he was “locked up for child support” and
strip searched at Camden County Jail, even though he was not
arrested for a criminal offense.
(Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶III(c)).
(Id., ¶¶IV, V.)
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
A Jail Is Not a Proper Defendant in a § 1983
The only defendant to this action is the Camden County
The Camden County Jail is not a “state actor” within the
meaning of § 1983.
See Crawford v. McMillian, 660 F. App’x
113, 116 (3d Cir. 2016) (“the 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)).
Therefore, the claim against
Camden County Jail fails to state a claim upon which relief may
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
The Fourth Amendment Applies to Bodily Searches
The Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable
search and seizure, applies to bodily searches in the prison
Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d 313, 326 (3d Cir. 2013)
Burlington, ––– U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 1510, 1516, 182 L.Ed.2d 566
(2012) (“Florence II”).
The test of reasonableness under the Fourth
Amendment ... requires a balancing of the
need for the particular search against the
invasion of personal rights that the search
entails. Courts must consider the scope of
the particular intrusion, the manner in
which it is conducted, the justification for
initiating it, and the place in which it is
constitutional if they str[ike] a reasonable
balance between inmate privacy and the needs
of the institutions.
jails to adopt a policy of exempting new detainees ‘who ha[d]
involving a weapon or drugs’ from the blanket strip searches
The detainee, in Florence II, was arrested on a bench
warrant for failure to appear at a hearing to enforce a fine.
although there was no individualized suspicion that he possessed
contraband, his strip search during the intake process did not
violate the Fourth Amendment.
Id. at 334-38.
searched upon admission to Camden County Jail, and that he was
not arrested for a criminal offense.
Plaintiff has not set
forth any facts that would distinguish his case from Florence
II, where the Supreme Court found no constitutional violation.
Therefore, the present Complaint fails to state a claim upon
screening pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2(B).
can allege additional circumstances surrounding his strip search
Amendment, Plaintiff may wish to file an Amended Complaint.
without prejudice because Plaintiff failed submit a complete IFP
application under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
Plaintiff is advised
that if he cures the deficiencies in his IFP application and
dismissed without prejudice upon screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
An appropriate order follows.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
United States District Judge
Dated: September 6, 2017
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