United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
H. SLOMSKY, J.
Cleveland Taft, III brings this civil action based on the
conditions at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, where
he was recently incarcerated. He seeks to proceed in forma
pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will
grant Taft leave to proceed in forma pauper is and
dismiss his Complaint without prejudice to allow him to file
an amended complaint.
Complaint is sparse. He alleges that he was subjected to
"inhumane living conditions," while he was
incarcerated at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.
(Compl. ECF No. 2 at 3.) The factual basis for that claim
appears to be that he was housed in a "3 man cell."
(Id.) Taft does not allege any injuries and does not
state what relief he seeks through this lawsuit. The Court
construes the Complaint as asserting constitutional claims
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the facility based
on Taft's conditions of confinement.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Taft leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he cannot afford to pay
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.
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).
"[M]ere conclusory statements do not suffice."
Id. As Taft is proceeding pro se, the Court
construes his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y
Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
The George W. Hill Correctional Facility is Not Subject to
Taft's claims against the George W. Hill Correctional
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, 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, Taft cannot
state a § 1983 claim against the George W. Hill
Taft's Claims Fail Substantively
claims also fail substantively. "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). 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). As Taft's status during his
incarceration is not clear from the Complaint, the Court will
analyze the Complaint under both amendments.
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
F.3d at 158. Additionally, a detainee must generally
establish that the defendants acted with deliberate
indifference, meaning that they consciously disregarded a
serious risk to the detainee's health or safety. Cf.
Edwards v. Northampton Cty., 663 Fed.Appx. 132, 135 (3d
Cir. 2016) (per curiam) ("[W]e agree with the District
Court and find no reason to apply a different standard here
as we have applied the 'deliberate indifference'
standard both in cases involving prisoners and pretrial
detainees." (internal citations omitted)).
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 Cnty Jail Inmates v. DiBuono, 713 F.2d
984, 1000-01 (3d Cir. 1983).
appears to be claiming that his constitutional rights were
violated by his placement in a cell that housed three men.
Without more, that allegation fails to state a claim because
it does not plausibly establish that Taft's conditions of
confinement amounted to punishment or deprived Taft 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, ...