United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, J.
Rivers filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the George W. Hill Correctional Facility
(“GWHCF”), asserting claims about the conditions
of his confinement there. (ECF No. 2.) He has also filed a
Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. (ECF
No. 1.) For the following reasons, the Court will grant
Rivers leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismiss
his Complaint without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), and grant him leave to amend.
Complaint suggests that Rivers was incarcerated at the GWHCF
during some unidentified period of time. (ECF No. 2 at
3-4.) Rivers alleges that during his thirty-day
period of incarceration, he “was placed in a 3 man
cell” with visible beds bugs and had to sleep in
“a boat that was not clean.” (Id.)
Rivers further asserts that “he got sick from one of
the inmates” and “received a rash from dry
skin.” (Id. at 4.) Rivers asks for
“proper legal clarity that an individual would receive
on a case like mine” and “$1000 cash for 30 days
of being place[d] into such [an] unsafe and crowded
Court grants Rivers 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)(ii) applies, which requires
the Court to dismiss the Complaint if 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 Rivers
is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att’y Gen.,
655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
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). Rivers’s Complaint fails to state a claim for
is the only Defendant. The claims against GWHCF must be
dismissed because the 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., 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.”).
also takes issue with various conditions at GWHCF,
i.e., the fact that he was assigned to a cell with
two other men, that the cell to which he was assigned
contained visible bed bugs, and that he had to sleep in a
which was not clean. 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 Rivers’s status during his
incarceration is not clear from the Complaint, the Court will
analyze the Complaint under both amendments.
Eighth Amendment violation based on the conditions of
confinement requires a prisoner to 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 show that the defendants acted with deliberate
indifference. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835
(1994). For a Fourteenth Amendment violation, a detainee 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 those
conditions have a purpose other than punishment and are
excessive in relation to that purpose. See Id . at
538-39; Hubbard I, 399 F.3d at 158. 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 v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 235 (3d Cir. 2008)
(Hubbard II); Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63,
67 (3d Cir. 1996); Union Cty. Jail Inmates v.
DiBuono, 713 F.2d 984, 1000-01 (3d Cir. 1983).
claims that he was assigned to a cell with two other men,
visible bed bugs, and forced to sleep in a boat that was not
clean. Housing multiple inmates in a cell, however, does not
alone establish a constitutional violation. See Hubbard
II, 538 F.3d at 236 & n.6 (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.App’x 111, 113 (3d
Cir. 2005) (per curiam) (“Double or triple-bunking of
cells, alone, is not per se unconstitutional.”). Rivers
has not established a plausible constitutional violation
because he has not alleged that the overcrowded conditions
amounted to punishment, deprived him of a basic need, or
otherwise caused him harm. 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.App’x 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); see also Walker v. George W. Hill
Corr., Civ. A. No. 18-2724, 2018 WL 3430678, at *3 (E.D.
Pa. July 13, 2018) (concluding that prisoner
plaintiff’s claims that “he was forced to share a
cell with two other individuals and that he was forced to
sleep on the floor inside what was described as a boat
unit” and that “his sleeping area was a very
unhealthy and unsanitary space two feet from the toilet
bowl” failed to state a Fourteenth Amendment claim with
respect to allegations of overcrowding).
Rivers alleges that he was subjected to visible bed bugs,
became sick, and experienced a rash at some point during his
incarceration, he does not allege that he required medical
treatment or that he was denied treatment for any medical
conditions. See Thomas v. SCI Graterford, No.
11-6799, 2014 WL 550555, at *4-5 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 12, 2014)
(concluding that while presence of insects in prison was
uncomfortable, plaintiff had not “demonstrated an
unconstitutional threat to his health and safety”);
Mitchell v. Dodrill, 696 F.Supp.2d 454, 467 (M.D.
Pa. 201) (infestation with ...