Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Njie v. DeRose

September 29, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge

(Judge Caputo)


I. Introduction

The pro se plaintiff, Momodou Njie, filed this civil rights action arising from events that transpired during his imprisonment at the Dauphin County Prison (DCP) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.*fn1 Mr. Njie has identified three categories of defendants in his action: those employed by the DCP (Dominick DeRose, Jeff Haste, Nick DeFrancisco, Edward Marsico, Deputy Warden Nichols and Deputy Warden Carroll); unidentified employees of PrimeCare Medical, Inc., the contracted entity responsible for providing medical care to DCP prisoners; and Stephen Reed, the Mayor of the City of Harrisburg. Presently before the Court are three separate motions to dismiss filed by the three distinct groups of defendants challenging Mr. Njie's failure to state a claim against them for various reasons, inter alia, their apparent lack of personal involvement in the underlying Sixth and Eighth Amendment violations. The Court will grant the defendants' motions to dismiss but give Mr. Njie the opportunity to amend his complaint to identify those individuals who were personally involved in the alleged unconstitutional behaviors.

II. Background

On or before June 16, 2008, the housing unit in which Mr. Njie was located at the DCP was placed on lockdown status. (Doc. 1, Compl.) On June 16, 2008, however, some inmates decided "to challenge" the lockdown by refusing to cooperate with DCP staff. During the quelling of the disturbance, Mr. Njie and others were maced. Inmates, including Mr. Njie, were then roughly strip searched on camera, and the water was turned off to the housing unit. (Id.)

An unidentified registered nurse refused to examine Mr. Njie's painful wrists after he was "dragged down the hallway" and strip searched by DCP staff. (Id. at R. 4.)*fn2 Additionally, his complaints of fever and migraines also went untreated and his medication was withheld.

"Everything [Mr. Njie] had was taken away" by DCP staff "whether you were a part of [the disturbance] or not." (Id. at R. 3.) Personal, legal and religious materials were confiscated by DCP officials. For 23 days, Inmates were fed baloney sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mr. Njie was denied showers for almost two weeks, forced to sit "in poop for 3 weeks," and refused cleaning supplies to sanitize his cell during this time. Mr. Njie asserts he was forced to endure these unsanitary living conditions for an extended period of time without relief. Mr. Njie had asked Deputy Warden Carroll to move him before the incident occurred but his request was denied. (Id.) "The County Board of Members, City of Harrisburg and Prison Administration not only were aware of the unconstitutional conditions of confinement ... they allowed it to continue since the whole incident was videotaped." (Id. at R. 5.) Mr. Njie claims that he will need therapy for the rest of his life "since the Mayor of Harrisburg an elected official and policy maker allows the prison to torture people, degrade them and let them sweep it under the rug." (Id.)

III. Standard of Review

Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and construe any inferences to be drawn from the allegations in Plaintiff's favor. See Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007)(quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). "The assumption of truth does not apply, however, to legal conclusions couched as factual allegations or to '[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.'" Marangos v. Swett, No. 08-4146, 2009 WL 1803264 (3d Cir. June 25, 2009)(citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, U.S. , , 120 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-1950, 173 L.Ed.2d. 868 (2009)). In considering a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain enough "facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed. 929 (2007), and the factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (internal citations omitted); accord Iqbal, U.S. at , 129 S.Ct. at 1953. The facts plead must offer more "than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." (Id., U.S. at , 120 S.Ct. at 1950 (internal quotations and citations 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." (Id., U.S. at , 120 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965)).

Additionally, pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 595-96, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), and pro se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative amended complaint "even when a plaintiff does not seek leave to amend, "unless such an amendment would be inequitable or futile. Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 235 (3d Cir. 2004). However, a complaint which sets forth facts affirmatively demonstrating that the plaintiff has no right to recover is properly dismissed without leave to amend. Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002).

IV. Discussion

A. Personal Involvement of Named Defendants

The Honorable Mayor Reed and the DCP defendants (DeRose, Haste, DeFrancisco, Marsico, Nichols, and Carroll) seek the dismissal of the Complaint based on Mr. Njie's failure to allege any personal involvement on their part in violating any of his constitutional rights, and that they cannot be held liable solely on the basis of respondeat superior.*fn3 (Doc. 19, DCP Defs.' ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.