ROSE v. ORTIZ, ET AL.
OPINION. Signed by Judge Claire C. Cecchi on 12/16/2015. (nr, )
*NOT FOR PUBLICATION*
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
TROY R. ROSE, et al.,
Civil Action No. 14-1738 (CCC)
ALFARO ORTIZ, et al.,
CECCHI, District Judge:
Pro se Plaintiff Troy R. Rose, confined at the Essex County Correctional Facility in
Newark, New Jersey, files the instant Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging various
violations of constitutional rights. Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss by all named
defendants (“Motion”) seeking to dismiss all claims against them.’ (ECF No. 13.) For reasons
stated below, the Court grants the Motion, and dismisses the Complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief maybe granted.
In the Complaint, Plaintiff purports to bring his claims as a class action on behalf of the
entire inmate population of the Essex County Correctional Facility, “from January 1 to January
28, 2014, and two years prior.” (ECF No. I at 2.) Plaintiff alleges violations of the inmates’
constitutional rights arising from “unconstitutional lock-downs,” “unconstitutional lock-ins,” and
inadequate library space, legal and reading materials, legal assistance, clothing, and facilities for
Plaintiff also assert claims against various other unnamed defendants.
religious observance, among other alleged violations. (See ECf No. 1 at 6—11). The Complaint
does not specify, however, whether Plaintiff himself suffered these violations.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A. Dismissal Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6)
F or a complaint to survive dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
it “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, 663 (2009) (quoting Bell Ati. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. See Phillips v. City ofAllegheny, 515 f.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. furthermore, “[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions.
not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual
enhancement.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations omitted).
B. Liberal Pleading Standard for Pro Se Litigants
A pro se litigant’s complaint is held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Courts have a duty to
construe pleadings liberally and apply the applicable law, irrespective of whether a pro se litigant
has mentioned it by name. Mata v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 244 (3d Cir. 2013);
Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003); Higgins v. Beyer, 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d
Cir. 2002). A pro se complaint “can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears
beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (citing Haines, 404 U.S. at 520-21);
Bacon v. Minner, 229 fed. App’x 96, 100 (3d Cir. 2007).
A. Class Action
Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that in order for a plaintiff to
obtain class action certification, four elements must be satisfied: (1) the class is so numerous that
joinder of all members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the
class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interest of the class.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). Apro se plaintiff may not represent the interests of his fellow inmates in a
class action. See, e.g., Lewis v. City of Trenton Police Dep ‘t, 175 F. App’x 552, 554 (3d Cir. 2006)
(“Lewis, who is proceeding pro se, may not represent a putative class of prisoners.”); Alexander
v. Ni State Parole Bd., 160 F. App’x 249, 250 n.1 (3d Cir. 2005) (“[A] prisoner proceeding pro
se may not seek relief on behalf of his fellow inmates.” (citation omitted)); Caputo v. Fauver, $00
F. Supp. 168, 170 (D.N.J. 1992) (“Every court that has considered the issue has held that a prisoner
proceeding pro se is inadequate to represent the interests of his fellow inmates in a class action.”)
(citations omitted)). Therefore, Plaintiff’s purported class action claims on behalf of his fellow
inmates fail to state a claim on which relief can be granted.
B. Individual Claims
Although Plaintiff may not maintain the instant action as a class action, Plaintiff is still
entitled to assert claims on behalf of himself However, his Complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted because it asserts no claims related to Plaintiff himself
Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652, 2662 (2013) (“To have standing, a litigant must seek relief
for an injury that affects him in a ‘personal and individual way.” (citation omitted)). Specifically,
Plaintiff does not allege he was denied access to the courts on any of his own cases, that his own
liberty was unconstitutionally deprived, that he received inadequate medical care, or that his own
conditions of confinement were so deplorable as to establish a constitutional violation. At best,
Plaintiffs allegations amount to generalized grievances, which are insufficient to state a claim.
See Id. (“tA] ‘generalized grievance,’ no matter how sincere, is insufficient to confer standing.”).
Therefore, the Court grants the Motion, and dismisses the Complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief maybe granted.
However, the Court will give Plaintiff thirty (30) days to amend the Complaint to assert
individualized claims. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002)
(noting that leave to amend should be granted “in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, dilatory
motive, unfair prejudice, or futility of amendment”). In order to state a claim, the amended
complaint must provide the specific details of any violation(s) Plaintiff suffered personally. See
Badia v. Warden, HCCC, No. 10-5662, 2011 WL 221709, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan. 19, 2011) (noting a
1983 complaint should specify “the who, what, when, where, and how: the first paragraph of any
For the reasons set forth above, the Court grants Defendants’ Motion and dismisses the
Complaint without prejudice. Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days to amend the Complaint.
Claire C. Cecchi, U.S.D.J.
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