LINDSAY v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, No. 1:2016cv05982 - Document 3 (D.N.J. 2016)

Court Description: OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 10/19/2016. (tf, n.m.)
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LINDSAY v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL Doc. 3 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY ERNEST J. LINDSAY, HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 16-5982 (JBS-AMD) v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, OPINION Defendant. APPEARANCES: Ernest J. Lindsay, Plaintiff Pro Se 320 W. Branch Ave. Apt. 25-I Pine Hill, NJ 08021 SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge: INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Ernest J. Lindsay seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden County Jail (“CCJ”). Complaint, Docket Entry 1. At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Dockets.Justia.com complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim and because it is time-barred. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). II. BACKGROUND Plaintiff alleges that he was detained in the CCJ at various times in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Complaint § III. He further alleges that he was housed in an overcrowded cell and forced to sleep on the floor next to the toilet. Id. III. STANDARD OF REVIEW Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. The Court must sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct 2 alleged.” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). IV. DISCUSSION Plaintiff seeks relief from CCJ for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Primarily, the complaint must be dismissed as the CCJ is not a “state actor” within the meaning of § 1983. See, e.g., Grabow v. Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F. Supp. 537, 538–39 (D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a “person” under § 1983). Accordingly, the claims against CCJ must be dismissed with prejudice. Generally, “plaintiffs who file complaints subject to dismissal under [§ 1915] should receive leave to amend unless amendment would be inequitable or futile.” Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002). This Court denies leave to amend at this time as Plaintiff’s complaint is barred by the statute of limitations, which is governed by New Jersey's two-year limitations period for personal injury. 1 See Wilson v. 1 “Although the running of the statute of limitations is ordinarily an affirmative defense, where that defense is obvious 3 Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985); Dique v. N.J. State Police, 603 F.3d 181, 185 (3d Cir. 2010). The accrual date of a § 1983 action is determined by federal law, however. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007); Montanez v. Sec'y Pa. Dep't of Corr., 773 F.3d 472, 480 (3d Cir. 2014). “Under federal law, a cause of action accrues when the plaintiff knew or should have known of the injury upon which the action is based.” Montanez, 773 F.3d at 480 (internal quotation marks omitted). Plaintiff states he was detained at CCJ at various times in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCJ would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of his detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims expired, at the latest, in 2010. Plaintiff filed this case too late and it will be dismissed. As there are no grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations, 2 from the face of the complaint and no development of the record is necessary, a court may dismiss a time-barred complaint sua sponte under § 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim.” Ostuni v. Wa Wa's Mart, 532 F. App’x 110, 111–12 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam). 2 Equitable tolling “is only appropriate ‘(1) where the defendant has actively misled the plaintiff respecting the plaintiff's cause of action; (2) where the plaintiff in some extraordinary way has been prevented from asserting his or her rights; or (3) where the plaintiff has timely asserted his or her rights mistakenly in the wrong forum.’” Omar v. Blackman, 590 F. App’x 162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Santos ex rel. Beato v. United States, 559 F.3d 189, 197 (3d Cir. 2009)). 4 the complaint will be dismissed with prejudice. Ostuni v. Wa Wa's Mart, 532 F. App’x 110, 112 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (affirming dismissal with prejudice due to expiration of statute of limitations). V. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate order follows. October 19, 2016 Date s/ Jerome B. Simandle JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge 5