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Jordan v. Rowley

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 29, 2017

TYCAS B. JORDAN, Plaintiff
v.
JOHN A. ROWLEY, ANGELA HOOVER AND LT. MOORE, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Tycas Jordan (“Jordan”), a former inmate housed at the Clinton County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), McElhattan, Pennsylvania, commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (Doc. 1). Named as defendants are Warden John Rowley, Deputy Warden Angela Hoover, and Lieutenant Jacqueline Moore. (Id.) Before the court is defendants' motion (Doc. 16) to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

         I. Allegations of the Complaint

         Jordan was a state inmate who was temporarily housed at the CCCF for technical violations. (Doc. 1, at 5). During a period of six (6) months at the CCCF, Jordan alleges that he was denied outdoor exercise, recreation, and fresh air. (Id.) Prison officials allegedly informed Jordan that the prison yards were closed for security updates. (Id.)

         Jordan asserts that inmates should be provided at least two (2) hours of outdoor exercise per day. (Id.) He explains that the CCCF has an indoor gym with a gate that lifts up as a window, and has a screen with bars, but he claims that “it's not enough fresh air at all.” (Id. at 3, 5). Jordan alleges that the lack of outdoor exercise and fresh air is “stressing [him] out physically and mentally.” (Id. at 5).

         Jordan further alleges that he was placed in the restricted housing unit (“RHU”) for a period of thirty (30) days. (Doc. 1, at 6). He asserts that the CCCF Inmate Handbook provides that an inmate in segregation shall be afforded the opportunity for outdoor exercise and recreation five (5) days a week for a one (1) hour period. (Id. at 6-7).

         Jordan states that he filed grievances pertaining to the lack of an opportunity for outdoor exercise and fresh air. (Doc. 1, at 8-11). Defendants allegedly denied his grievances. (Id.) In their responses, defendants informed Jordan that the CCCF is in full compliance with state requirements, and the prison yards were closed for security updates. (Id.)

         For relief, Jordan seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, at 9).

         II. Standard of Review

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must “accept as true all [factual] allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it “may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case.” Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).

         Federal notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide “the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To test the sufficiency of the complaint in the face of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must conduct a three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). In the first step, “the court must 'tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'” Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 675 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated; well-pleaded facts must be accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be disregarded. Id.; see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the well-pleaded factual allegations have been isolated, the court must determine whether they are sufficient to show a “plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level”). 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         III. Discussion

         Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by ...


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