BROWN v. SAWYER
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 2/18/2021. (rss, n.m.)
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NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
CIV. NO. 20-16360 (RMB-JS)
BUMB, DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Keishawn Brown, a prisoner incarcerated in Garden
State Correctional Facility (“GSCF”) in Yardville, New Jersey,
filed this civil rights action pro se on November 17, 2020.
(Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff has submitted an application which
prepayment of the filing fee under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (“IFP
application,” Dkt. No. 1-1.)
SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
When a prisoner is permitted to proceed without prepayment of
the filing fee for a civil action against a government entity or
employee or based on prison conditions, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B),
1915A(b)(1), and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1) require courts to review
the complaint and sua sponte dismiss any claims that are (1)
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frivolous or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim on which relief
may be granted; or (3) seek monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.
Courts must liberally construe pleadings that are filed pro
se. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle
v.Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Thus, “a pro se complaint,
(internal quotation marks omitted). A pleading must contain a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “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.”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.) Legal conclusions, together
with threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, do
not suffice to state a claim. Id.
Thus, “a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to
begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at
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679. “While legal 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 complaint with prejudice but must permit the
amendment. Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108
(3d Cir. 2002).
For the purpose of screening the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§
1915, 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, the Court accepts Plaintiff’s
U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges that on May 1, 2020 at Bayside State
Prison, Officer Sawyer called Plaintiff out of the shower line and
told him he could not take a shower. Plaintiff called Sawyer a
name, and Sawyer responded by spraying Plaintiff in the eyes with
pepper spray. Plaintiff seeks money damages against Sawyer for
raising an Eighth Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Sawyer in his individual capacity.
Administrator at Bayside State Prison. 1 Plaintiff alleges that
Bayside State Prison is on lockdown and, to punish the inmates,
Plaintiff did not include J. Gramp as a defendant in the caption
of the complaint.
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Gramp created a rule that allows only fifteen minutes for 24
inmates to use two telephones and the J-pay computers. Plaintiff
seeks injunctive relief for more time to use the telephones and
conditions of confinement claim.
Section 1983 Claims
42 U.S.C. § 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
To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States, and that the constitutional deprivation
was caused by a person acting under color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1998); Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560,
563 (3d Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against
Officer Sawyer may proceed, although this does not mean the Court
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has made a finding that the claim has merit. 2 The Eighth Amendment
standard for a conditions of confinement claim
deprivation is “sufficiently serious” and …
the inmate has been deprived of the “minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities.”
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 … (1994)
(citing Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337 …
(1981)). An inmate must demonstrate that “he
is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm” and that
prison officials demonstrated “deliberate
indifference” to his health or safety. Id.
However, only “extreme deprivations” are
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Hudson [v. McMillian], 503 U.S. [1,] 8–9
Dockery v. Beard, 509 F. App'x 107, 112 (3d Cir. 2013). A rule
that permits only fifteen minutes for 24 inmates to use two
telephones and the J-pay computers during a prison lockdown is not
sufficiently serious to deprive inmates of the “minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities.” The Court will dismiss this claim
against Administrator J. Gramp without prejudice for failure to
state a claim.
The Court will grant Plaintiff’s application to proceed in
forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and permit the complaint
to proceed in part and dismiss it in part.
The Court expects such claim is brought in good faith. Any claim
that is brought in bad faith is subject to sanctions.
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February 18, 2021
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
United States District Judge
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