CROGE v. CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS OF CAMDEN COUNTY et al, No. 1:2016cv08060 - Document 2 (D.N.J. 2017)

Court Description: OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/22/17. (jbk, )
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CROGE v. CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS OF CAMDEN COUNTY et al Doc. 2 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY JOSEPH L CROGE, HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 16-8060 (JBS-AMD) v. CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS OF CAMDEN COUNTY; DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS OF CAMDEN COUNTY; WARDEN CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, OPINION Defendants. APPEARANCES: Joseph L. Croge, Plaintiff Pro Se 434 Springfield Avenue Pennsauken, New Jersey 08110 SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge: INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Joseph L. Croge seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Chosen Freeholders of Camden County, Department of Corrections of Camden County, and Warden of Camden County Jail. 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 Dockets.Justia.com 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 complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). II. BACKGROUND Plaintiff alleges that during April 2013 and May 2014, he was detained in the Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) and “forced to sleep on the floor due to overcrowding conditions.” Complaint § III. 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 2 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 CCJ that he experienced in April 2013 and May 2014. 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 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). 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 “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 April 2013 and May 2014. 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 May 2016 at the latest. Plaintiff filed this complaint too late as plaintiff filed his complaint on October 31, 2016. 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. February 22, 2017 Date s/ Jerome B. Simandle JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge 5