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Spears v. Dauphin County Prison

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


October 19, 2009

ANTHONY RAY SPEARS, PLAINTIFF
v.
DAUPHIN COUNTY PRISON, CO. SCOTT BARLICK, CO. DONALD FOCKLAR, DEFENDANTS

The opinion of the court was delivered by: William W. Caldwell United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff, Andthony Ray Spears, an inmate at the Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action alleging, among other things, that a corrections officer used excessive force against him, that he was harassed by another corrections officer and that he was confined in unsanitary conditions.*fn1

Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, so under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), we examine the complaint for legal sufficiency before allowing the case to proceed.*fn2 In doing so, we will dismiss the Dauphin County Prison from the action, but allow the Plaintiff to amend his complaint to include the appropriate defendant for his unsanitary conditions claim. For the remaining Defendants, we will allow the action to proceed.

As we read the complaint, there appear to be three claims asserted. The first one is for unsanitary conditions at Dauphin County Prison. The second is for harassment and failure to protect against C.O. Barlick. The third claim is for excessive force against C.O. Focklar, which occurred on May 5, 2009.

Under section 1983, a prison is not a "person." Meyers v. Schuykill County Prison, No. CV-04-1123, 2006 WL 559467, at *8 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 7, 2007)(McClure, J.)(citations omitted). Therefore, Dauphin County Prison will be dismissed from this action. However, prison officials are "persons" who can be held liable under section 1983. Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978). We will allow the Plaintiff to file an amended complaint, in order to name the appropriate defendant for his unsanitary conditions claim. The remaining claims are sufficiently pleaded to allow them to move forward.

Plaintiff is advised that any amended complaint must stand on its own. It must be a completely new pleading that states all of his claims, even the ones in the current complaint that were not dismissed. Any amended complaint cannot be a supplement to his original one. In other words, Plaintiff must start over.

We will issue an appropriate order.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 19th day of October, 2009, upon review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), it is ordered that:

1. The claim against Dauphin County Prison is dismissed. However, the Plaintiff is granted leave to amend his complaint in order to name a defendant for his unsanitary conditions claim.

2. Plaintiff shall file his amended complaint within twenty days of the date of this order. If he fails to do so, the case will proceed on the claims remaining in the original complaint.

3. Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis (doc. 2) is granted.

William W. Caldwell United States District Judge


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