COOK v. CAMDEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al, No. 1:2016cv07272 - Document 2 (D.N.J. 2016)

Court Description: OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 12/28/2016. (tf, n.m.)
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COOK v. CAMDEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al Doc. 2 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY DARRIS T. COOK, HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 16-7272 (JBS-AMD) v. CAMDEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; DAVID S. OWENS, JR., OPINION Defendant. APPEARANCES: Darris T. Cook, Plaintiff Pro Se 1422 Belleview Ave. Camden, New Jersey 08103 SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge: INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Darris T. Cook seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden County Department of Corrections (“CCDOC”) and David S. Owens, Jr. Complaint, Docket Entry 1. Based on Plaintiff’s affidavit of indigency, the Court will grant his application to proceed in forma pauperis. 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 Dockets.Justia.com monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). II. BACKGROUND Plaintiff alleges that during August 2003, as well as April to July 2004 and August to October 2007, he was detained in the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”). Complaint § III. He further alleges that during these dates he was “forced to lay on a concrete floor of an overcrowded cell with no mattress.” He further alleges that “the floor was saturated with urine and vomit” and he was “forced to take showers in a shower that was covered in black mold and fungus.” 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 2 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) (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 monetary damages for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement in the CCCF that he experienced between August 2003, April to July 2004 and August to October 2007. 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. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985); Dique v. N.J. State Police, 603 F.3d 1 “Although the running of the statute of limitations is ordinarily an affirmative defense, where that defense is obvious 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). 3 181, 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 in August 2003, April to July 2004 and August to October 2007. The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCCF would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of his detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims expired October 2009 at the latest. As there are no grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations,2 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). 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 V. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate order follows. December 28, 2016 Date s/ Jerome B. Simandle JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge 5