INGALLS v. OWENS et al, No. 1:2016cv08658 - Document 3 (D.N.J. 2016)

Court Description: OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 12/6/2016. (dmr)(n.m.)
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INGALLS v. OWENS et al Doc. 3 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY CORNELL C. INGALLS, HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 16-cv-08658 (JBS-AMD) v. WARDEN DAVID OWENS; CAMDEN COUNTY BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS, OPINION Defendants. APPEARANCES: Cornell C. Ingalls, Plaintiff Pro Se #271611C South Woods State Prison 215 South Burlington Road Bridgeton, NJ 08302 SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge: INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Cornell C. Ingalls, a prisoner confined at South Woods State Prison, seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against David Owens, warden of the Camden County Jail (“CCJ”), and the Camden County Freeholders (“Freeholders”). 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 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 seeks relief for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement during his detention in the CCJ. He states he was detained in the CCJ during “the month of August 2012, and for several months prior to, and leading up to August 2012.” Complaint § III. He alleges that he was forced to sleep on the floor of his cell near the door or under a table as there were more inmates in the cell than it was intended to hold. Id. The sleeping arrangements allegedly caused back injuries for which he did not receive treatment for other than Motrin. Id. Plaintiff asserts Warden Owens had personal knowledge of the sleeping arraignments, and that the Freeholders “are equally responsible, and are partially the reason why I slept on the floor for several months.” 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 2 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) and 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and is filing a claim about the conditions of his confinement. 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 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’s complaint is barred by the statute of limitations. Complaints brought pursuant to § 1983 are s governed by New Jersey's two-year limitations period for 3 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). “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 the CCJ for several months prior to August 2012. Complaint § III. 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 in August 2014 at the latest. Plaintiff has filed his complaint too late. As there are no grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations,2 the 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). 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 4 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. December 6, 2016 Date s/ Jerome B. Simandle JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge 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)). 5