United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
PETRESE B. TUCKEK, J.
se Plaintiff William Johnakin, a pretrial detainee
confined at the Berks County Jail System, has lodged a
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
constitutional claims. He has also filed a Motion to Proceed
In Forma Pauperis. Because it appears that Johnakin
is unable to afford to pay the filing fee, the Court will
grant him leave to proceed in forma pauperis. For
the following reasons, certain claims in the Complaint will
be dismissed with prejudice, and the balance of the Complaint
will be dismissed without prejudice. Johnakin will be granted
leave to file an amended complaint to attempt to cure the
defects noted by the Court concerning the claims dismissed
alleges that he has been confined as a pretrial detainee in
the Berks County Jail since July 2019. On July 1, he was
moved from a quarantine cell to K-Block. (ECF No. 3 at 8.) He
contends that there was mold on the walls and around the
toilet and sink. (Id) He filed two grievances about
the mold asking for cleaning supplies and for someone to
inspect his cell. (Id.) He never received a response
to his grievances, nor did he receive cleaning supplies.
(Id.) He asserts that an officer looked at the mold
but said he did not know what mold looks like. (Id.)
further asserts that his toiled started to leak, requiring
that he squeegee odorous water two or three times each day.
(Id.) He wrote to Defendant Warden Quigley about his
toilet and never received an answer. (Id.) However,
a sergeant inspected the toilet and acknowledged the leak.
(Id.) He was finally moved to another cell on August
9, 2019. (Id.) He complained about having to breathe
in mold and dust. (Id. at 9.) Johnakin alleges that
he has asthma and is HIV positive and "an environment
like this is definitely detrimental to my health."
(Id.) He speculates that the Warden kept him in the
cell due to his numerous other complaints and civil suits.
as Defendants are the Berks County Jail System, Berks County,
Warden Quigley and Chief Deputy Warden Smith. All Defendants
are sued in their official and individual capacities.
Johnakin seeks the remediation of mold in the jail, proper
inspections, and money damages.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Johnakin leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of
paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) requires the Court to dismiss the
Complaint if, among other things, it fails to state a claim.
Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine
whether the complaint contains "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). Conclusory
allegations do not suffice. Id. As Johnakin is
proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides in part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
42 U.S.C. § 1983. "To state a claim under §
1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States,
and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law." West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Official Capacity and Municipal Liability Claims
has sued Defendants Quigley and Smith in their official as
well as individual capacities. Official capacity claims are
indistinguishable from claims against the entity that employs
the officials. See Kentucky v. Graham,473 U.S. 159,
165-66 (1985) (''Official-capacity suits . ..
'generally represent only another way of pleading an
action against an entity of which an officer is an
agent.'") (quoting Monell v. N. Y.C. Dept. of
Soc. Servs.,436 U.S. 658, 690, n. 55 (1978)).
"[A]n official-capacity suit is, in all respects other
than name, to be treated as a suit against ...