United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
QUINONES ALEJANDRO, J.
Julian Andrew Dan brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 based on the conditions at the Curran-Fromhold
Correctional Facility ("CFCF"), where he was
recently incarcerated. He has also filed a Motion for Leave
to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. (ECF No. 1.) For the
following reasons, the Court will grant Dan leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and dismiss his Complaint without
prejudice to him filing an amended complaint.
claims arise out of his allegation that CFCF was overcrowded
during his incarceration there from April 27, 2015 through
December 9, 2016. Specifically, he alleges that he "was
placed in a 3 man cell which provided no space for living.
The cell was 8x6 and there was also a bed on the floor right
next to the toilet." (Compl. at 3.) Dan also contends
that he was "placed in solitary confin[e]ment where [he]
could take a shower once every other day. The days [he]
didn't take a shower, [he] was confined in the cell the
whole day without any mandatory rec time."
(Id.) He asserts that he has "minor back pain,
" and asks for "some kind of settlement check for
each day [he] was confined in a 3 man cell ranging from 75
dollars to 100 dollars for each day." (Id. at
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Dan leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is not capable of
prepaying the fees to commence this action. Accordingly, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the
Court to dismiss 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). As Dan
is proceeding pro se, the Court must construe his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
named the CFCF as the sole Defendant in this action. His
claims against the facility, however, must be dismissed
because CFCF "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, Civ. 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.")- Accordingly, Dan cannot maintain his
§ 1983 claim against CFCF.
claims also fail substantively. The Eighth Amendment governs
claims brought by convicted inmates challenging their
conditions of confinement, while 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 Dan's status during his
incarceration is not clear from the Complaint, the Court will
analyze the Complaint under both amendments. To establish an
Eighth Amendment violation based on the conditions of
confinement, a prisoner must establish that 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
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 should consider the totality
of the circumstances. See, e.g., Hubbard II, 538
F.3d at 235; Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 67 (3d Cir.
1996); Union Cty. Jail Inmates v. DiBuono, 713 F.2d
984, 1000-01 (3dCir. 1983).
most, Dan asserts that he was confined with two other inmates
in 8x6 cells for approximately one year and seven months.
Without more, his sparse allegations fail to state a claim
because they do not plausibly establish that the conditions
of confinement at CFCF amounted to punishment or deprived him
of any basic human need such as food, medical care,
sanitation, or security. See Wilson v. Seiter, 501
U.S. 294, 305 (1991) ("Nothing so amorphous as
'overall conditions' can rise to the level of cruel
and unusual punishment when no specific deprivation of a
single human need exists."); Bell, 441 U.S. at
542-43 (double-bunking did not violate constitutional rights
of pretrial detainees when detainees had sufficient space for
sleeping and use of common areas, and the average length of
incarceration was 60 days); Lindsey v. Shaffer, 411
Fed.Appx. 466, 468 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam) ("The
critical issue for Eighth Amendment purposes is not the
number of prisoners who share facilities; rather, it is
whether the alleged overcrowding has somehow harmed the
prisoner."); Hubbard II, 538 F.3d at 232-35
(triple-celling of pretrial detainees, some of whom were made
to sleep on floor mattresses for three to seven months, and
housing of detainees in gym, weight room, and receiving area
due to overcrowding, did not amount to punishment). Although
Dan alleges that he has "minor back pain, " the
Complaint does not establish how that ailment relates to the
conditions of his confinement. Nor does Dan allege that he
was denied treatment for his condition. Thus, Dan's
Complaint fails to state a claim with respect to his
allegations of overcrowding.
Dan's sparse allegations regarding his time in solitary
confinement fail to state a claim. As noted above, Dan claims
that while in solitary confinement, he was only allowed to
shower every other day. (Compl. at 3.) This, however, is not
a constitutional violation. See Tapp v.
Proto, 404 Fed.Appx. 563, 567 (3d Cir. 2010) (per
curiam) (finding no constitutional violation where the
prisoner was denied access to shower facilities two days each
week); Miller v. Trometter, No. 4:11-cv-811, 2012 WL
5933015, at *10 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 27, 2012) (citing
Tapp to conclude that prisoner had failed to state a
claim with respect to allegation that he was only allowed to
shower every other day). Dan also contends that on days when
he was not allowed to shower, he "was confined in the
cell the whole day without any mandatory rec time."
(Compl. at 3.) While "meaningful recreation 'is
extremely important to the psychological and physical
well-being of... inmates, '" Peterkin v.
Jeffes, 855 F.2d 1021, 1031 (3d Cir. 1988) (quoting
Spain v. Procunier, 600 F.2d 189, 199 (9th Cir.
1979)), nothing in the Complaint suggests that the lack of
recreation time amounted to punishment or that it threatened
Dan's health. See French v. Owens, 77 F.2d 1250,
1255 (7th Cir. 1985) (concluding that lack of exercise may
rise to a constitutional violation only if the deprivation is
such that "movement is denied [to such extent that]
muscles are allowed to atrophy [and] the health of the
individual is threatened"). Thus, as pled, the Complaint
fails to state a claim regarding the conditions Dan endured
while in solitary confinement.
foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss Dan's Complaint
for failure to state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
l9l5(e)(2)(B)(ii). The dismissal is without prejudice to Dan
filing an amended complaint in the event he can cure the
defects noted above. See Grayson v. ...