United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
RONALD E. WILSON, Plaintiff,
TOM WOLFE, et al., Defendants.
AUSTIN MCHUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ronald E. Wilson, a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (“CFCF”)
who is representing himself (proceeding pro se),
brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
based on the conditions of his confinement. He named as
Defendants Governor Tom Wolf (misspelled Tom Wolfe),
Commissioner of the Philadelphia Prison System Blanche Carney
(misspelled Blanch Carney), and Warden John Delaney. In a
Memorandum and Order entered on the docket June 20, 2019, the
Court granted Wilson leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and dismissed his Complaint for failure to
state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), with leave to amend. (ECF Nos. 5 & 6.)
In an Order entered on the docket August 1, 2019, the Court
dismissed this case for failure to prosecute because Wilson
failed to file an Amended Complaint in accordance with the
Court's prior Order. (ECF No. 7.)
August 20, 2019, the Court received an Amended Complaint
submitted by Mr. Wilson. Wilson has not provided an
explanation for the delay in his filing. Nevertheless, as it
now appears that Wilson intends to prosecute this case, the
Court will vacate its dismissal order and consider
Wilson's Amended Complaint. However, as the Amended
Complaint fails to state a claim, the Court will dismiss this
case without prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
initial Complaint, Mr. Wilson alleged that since November of
2018 he has been housed in a multi-purpose room that at one
point held a total of four people. He alleged that there was
no electricity in the room, no locks on the door, and no
window, but he also alleged that the lights are on all night.
Wilson claimed that there was insufficient ventilation, a
“very high bed, ” and that eating takes place
three feet from a toilet. (Compl. at 6.) Wilson contended
that he was suffering physical consequences from the
conditions of his confinement.
noted above, the Court dismissed Wilson's Complaint for
failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Court explained that Wilson failed to
allege how any of the Defendants were responsible for the
challenged conditions. The Court also noted that that the
practice of requiring pretrial detainees to eat in a cell
containing a toilet does not amount to a constitutional
violation. Wilson was given leave to amend with instructions
that, in drafting any amended complaint, he should be mindful
of the Court's reasons for dismissing his claims.
Amended Complaint again names Wolf, Carney, and Delaney as
Defendants. Wilson raises almost no factual allegations. The
basis for his claims is an allegation that he was housed in
“unsafe conditions” in a multipurpose cell from
November 2018 through March 2019. (Am. Compl. at 3 & 5.)
Wilson does not elaborate on those conditions or describe any
injuries suffered as a result of those conditions. He seeks
damages in the amount of $250, 000.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Wilson is proceeding in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to
dismiss the Amended 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 Wilson 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).
“A defendant in a civil rights action must have
personal involvement in the alleged wrongs.” See
Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir.
1988). Furthermore, “[b]ecause vicarious liability is
inapplicable to . . . § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must
plead that each Government-official defendant, through the
official's own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676.
are “two general ways in which a supervisor-defendant
may be liable for unconstitutional acts undertaken by
subordinates.” Barkes v. First Corr. Med.,
Inc., 766 F.3d 307, 316 (3d Cir. 2014), reversed on
other grounds by Taylor v. Barkes, 135 S.Ct. 2042
(2015). First, a supervisor may be liable if he or she
“with deliberate indifference to the consequences,
established and maintained a policy, practice or custom which
directly caused [the] constitutional harm.”
Id. (quoting A.M. ex rel. J.M.K. v. Luzerne Cty.
Juvenile Det. Ctr., 372 F.3d 572, 586 (3d Cir. 2004)
(alteration in original)). “Second, a supervisor may be
personally liable under § 1983 if he or she participated
in violating the plaintiff's rights, directed others to
violate them, or, as the person in charge, had knowledge of
and acquiesced in the subordinate's unconstitutional
Amended Complaint does not state a claim. He has not
described in sufficient detail any of the conditions to which
he was subjected. His conclusory allegation that the
conditions are “unsafe” does not plausibly set
forth a basis for a constitutional violation. Wilson has also
failed to explain how any of the named Defendants were
involved in the violation of his rights. As to Governor Wolf,
amendment would be futile. As to Defendants Carney and
Delaney, it remains possible that Plaintiff might be able to
plead that one or more conditions were the result of
decisions in which they personally participated.