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McClorin v. George W. Hill Correction Facility

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 18, 2018



          TIMOTHY J. SAVAGE, Judge

         Plaintiff Marques Gregory McClorin, proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1983 based on the conditions at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, where he was recently incarcerated. For the following reasons, the Court shall grant leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss his Complaint without prejudice.


         Mr. McClorin's claims arise out of his allegation that the George W. Hill Correctional Facility was overcrowded during his incarceration there from November of 2017 through March of 2018. Specifically, he alleges that he was held in the booking unit for four (4) days, where he had to sleep “on the hard, dirty, cold floor with 15 other strangers.” Compl. at 3. Mr. McClorin subsequently spent seven (7) days in the intake/classification unit. Id. He alleges that while there, he was housed with two other individuals and “slept in a boat on the floor next to a (leaking) toilet.” Id.

         Mr. McClorin was “finally” sent to his unit, “where [he] stayed in a boat until 12-4-17.” Id. Every time he tried to move to another cell, “the inmates [would] always get their friends or threaten [him] not to move cells.” Id. Mr. McClorin claims that correctional officers “had [their] favorites and put who they wanted in 2 man cells.” Id. He contends that the living conditions were “terrible” because he had to sleep “in a cold boat on the floor next to a smelly, runny toilet.” Id. He was moved to a two-man cell after December 4, 2017. Id. Mr. McClorin asserts that “[his] back was always hurting.” Id. at 4.


         Because it appears that he is not capable of prepaying the fees to commence this action, leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires dismissal of the complaint if it fails to state a claim.

         To survive dismissal, “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) (quotations omitted). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.; see also Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234-35 (3d Cir. 2008) (“[T]here must be some showing sufficient to justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the next stage of litigation.”). “In this review, courts accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Eid v. Thompson, 740 F.3d 118, 122 (3d Cir. 2014) (quotations omitted). Because Mr. McClorin is proceeding pro se, we construe his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).


         Mr. McClorin has named the George W. Hill Correctional Facility as the sole defendant in this action. His claims against the facility must be dismissed because “‘[t]he George W. Hill Correctional Facility is not a legal entity susceptible to suit.'” Cephas v. George W. Hill Corr. Facility, Civ. A. No. 09-6014, 2010 WL 2854149, at *1 (E.D. Pa. July 20, 2010) (quoting Ignudo v. McPhearson, Civ. A. No. 03-5459, 2004 WL 1320896, at *2 (E.D. Pa. June 10, 2004)); see also Regan v. Upper Darby Twp., C. A. No. 06-1686, 2009 WL 650384, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 11, 2009) (“[A] prison or correctional facility is not a ‘person' that is subject to suit under federal civil rights laws.”). Therefore, Mr. McClorin cannot maintain his § 1983 claim against the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

         Mr. McClorin's claims also fail substantively. The Eighth Amendment governs claims brought by convicted inmates challenging their conditions of confinement. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment governs claims brought by pretrial detainees. Hubbard v. Taylor (Hubbard I), 399 F.3d 150, 166 (3d Cir. 2005). Because Mr. McClorin's status during his incarceration is not clear from the Complaint, the Court shall analyze the Complaint under both amendments.

         To establish an Eighth Amendment violation based on the conditions of confinement, a prisoner must establish the prison officials' acts or omissions denied him “the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). He must also establish that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994).

         To establish a basis for a Fourteenth Amendment violation, a prisoner must establish that the conditions of confinement amount to punishment. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 538 (1979). That inquiry generally turns on whether the conditions have a purpose other than punishment and whether the conditions are excessive in relation to that purpose. See Id. at 538-39; Hubbard I, 399 F.3d at 158.

         Housing multiple inmates in a cell does not alone establish a constitutional violation. See Hubbard v. Taylor (Hubbard II), 538 F.3d 229, 236 & n.6 (3d Cir. 2008) (pretrial detainees do not have a right “to be free from triple-celling or from sleeping on a mattress placed on the floor.”); North v. White, 152 Fed.Appx. 111, 113 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam) (“Double or triple-bunking of cells, alone, is not per se unconstitutional.”). Instead, in assessing whether a prisoner's conditions of confinement violate the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment, a court considers the totality of the ...

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