HICKS v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, No. 1:2016cv06804 - Document 3 (D.N.J. 2017)

Court Description: OPINION FILED. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/4/17. (js)
Download PDF
HICKS v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL Doc. 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE CARL W. HICKS, SR., Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 16-cv-06804 (JBS-AMD) v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, OPINION Defendant. APPEARANCES Carl W. Hicks, Sr. Plaintiff Pro Se 519 Pfeiffer Street, Apt. B Camden, NJ 08105 SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge: I. INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Carl W. Hicks, Sr. seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1. Plaintiff’s Complaint names Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) as defendant in the Complaint’s caption (id. at 1) along with Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) as defendant in §§ I(B) and III(A). Id. 28 U.S.C. 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 1 Dockets.Justia.com 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 Section 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. For the reasons set forth below it is clear from the complaint that the claim arose more than two years before the complaint was filed. It is therefore barred by the two-year statute of limitations that governs claims of unconstitutional conduct under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court will therefore dismiss the complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). II. BACKGROUND Plaintiff’s Complaint states in its entirety: “I got locked up for poss. COS and I am diabetic. They would not give me my med. so I had a diabetic stroke and had to get rushed to the hospital were [sic] I stayed for a week or two. And then one of the nurses said get him out of here asap. And allso [sic] messed my body up from sleeping on the floor.” Complaint § III(C). Plaintiff contends that he suffered the following injuries from these alleged events: “My joints are so bad I have to ware [sic] a backbrace and a knee brace when it get [sic] cold[.] My whole body hurts. Can’t play with my grandkids no more [sic].” Id. § IV. 2 Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to his claims occurred “2005[,] 2006.” Id. § III(B). With respect to relief that Plaintiff requests as to his claims, he seeks “to get me some compensation for all the lost time. I used to be able to fix cars[.] Not no more [sic] because my back hurts so bad from sleeping on that hard floor in the jail. From the time I came in till [sic] the time I went up stairs [sic] to 7 day lock in I felt like a cage animal. My body is still messed up today.” Id. § V. Plaintiff requests “$20,000” in damages. Id. III. STANDARD OF REVIEW To survive sua sponte screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) for failure to state a claim, a 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 alleged.” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014). “[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)). 3 IV. DISCUSSION Plaintiff asserts claims against CCJ and CCCF for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Primarily, the Complaint must be dismissed as CCJ and CCCF are not “state actors” 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 and CCCF must be dismissed with prejudice. Furthermore, “plaintiffs who file complaints subject to dismissal should receive leave to amend unless amendment would be inequitable under [§ 1915] 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. Civil rights claims under § 1983 are governed by New Jersey's limitations period for personal injury and must be brought within two years of the claim’s accrual. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985); Dique v. New Jersey State Police, 603 F.3d 181, 185 (3d Cir. 2010). “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 v. Sec'y Pa. Dep't of Corr., 773 F.3d 472, 480 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Kach v. Hose, 589 F.3d 626, 634 (3d Cir. 2009)). 4 The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCJ would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of his detention in 2005 and 2006; therefore, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims expired in 2008 at the latest, well before this complaint was filed in 2016. Plaintiff has filed his lawsuit too late. Although the Court may toll, or extend, the statute of limitations in the interests of justice, certain circumstances must be present before it can do so. Tolling is not warranted in this case because the state has not “actively misled” Plaintiff as to the existence of his cause of action, there are no extraordinary circumstances that prevented Plaintiff from filing his claim, and there is nothing to indicate Plaintiff filed his claim on time but in the wrong forum. See Omar v. Blackman, 590 F. App’x 162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014). As it is clear from the face of the complaint that more than two years have passed since Plaintiff’s claims accrued, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice, meaning he may not file an amended complaint concerning the events of 2005 and 2006. 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). 5 V. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate order follows. May 4, 2017 Date s/ Jerome B. Simandle JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge 6