FAVORS v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 7/7/2016. (tf,n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al.,
DUJUAN A. FAVORS,
Civ. No. 16-1940 (NLH)
Dujuan A. Favors
412 B South White Horse Pike
Lindenwold, NJ 08021
Plaintiff Pro se
HILLMAN, District Judge
Plaintiff filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1).
This case was previously dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. (ECF No. 3).
was given leave to file, within 45 days, an application to reopen accompanied by a submission which addressed, in writing,
the issue of equitable tolling.
In response, Plaintiff
submitted a letter dated June 7, 2016 (ECF No. 4) requesting “a
review” of this Court’s May 9, 2016 Opinion and Order (ECF Nos.
2 & 3), and the matter was reopened for review by a judicial
For the reasons set forth below, the Court determines
that no action is required at this time, and the case will be
The factual and procedural background of this case is set
forth in the Court’s May 9, 2016 Opinion (ECF No. 2) and need
not be repeated in detail here.
In relevant part, as part of
the Court’s sua sponte screening, the Court noted that the
events which gave rise to Plaintiff’s claims occurred on
February 13, 2011 and March 23, 2011, approximately. (Compl. 3,
ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff’s Complaint, however, was dated April 7,
2016 — more than five years after the date Plaintiff’s claims
Therefore, this Court concluded that the claims were
time-barred as beyond the two-year statute of limitations in New
Jersey, and the Complaint was dismissed. See Dique v. N.J. State
Police, 603 F.3d 181, 185 (3d Cir. 2010) (citations omitted)
This Court does not construe this letter as a motion for
reconsideration pursuant to Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b). As an
initial matter, the letter is not styled as a motion. Moreover,
although it seeks “review” of the Court’s May 9, 2016 Order, it
does not set forth any basis for said review, or any grounds
upon which reconsideration would be warranted. See FED. R. CIV. P.
59, 60. As set forth above, the Court construes the submission
as a response to the Court’s invitation to submit materials in
support of equitable tolling.
(holding that in New Jersey, § 1983 claims are subject to New
Jersey’s two-year statute of limitations on personal injury
actions); N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2A:14–2; see also Ostuni v. Wa-Wa's
Mart, 532 F. App'x 110, 111-12 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam)
(“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.”) (citations omitted).
The May 9, 2016 Opinion further noted that Plaintiff’s
Complaint was essentially a reiteration — and to a large extent
a duplicate — of a complaint Plaintiff filed before this Court
in 2011 in Case No. 11-2750 (the “2011 Case”). See Complaint,
Favors v. State of N.J., 11-2750 (NLH) (D.N.J. filed May 13,
2011), ECF No. 1.
In that case, this Court denied Plaintiff in
forma pauperis status due to his failure to comply with the
requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) and granting him 30 days
to reopen the matter by either pre-paying the filing fee, or by
submitting a complete in forma pauperis application. See Order,
Favors v. State of N.J., 11-2750 (NLH) (D.N.J. May 20, 2011),
ECF No. 2.
Plaintiff did neither and, instead, waited nearly
five years before filing the Complaint in the instant case,
which did not reference the 2011 Case.
Accordingly, this Court found that the approximately fiveyear delay in the filing a complete in forma pauperis
application was unreasonable; and did not serve to reopen the
2011 Case, pursuant to this Court’s May 20, 2011 Order. See,
e.g., Lawson v. Hoisington, No. 11-171, 2014 WL 3627230, at *6
n.4 (E.D. Pa. July 22, 2014) (suggesting that an unreasonable
delay in curing a defect in an in forma pauperis motion
precludes tolling of the statute of limitations); Scary v.
Philadelphia Gas Works, 202 F.R.D. 148, 152 (E.D. Pa. 2001)
(collecting cases) (holding that a seventeen-month delay in
paying the fee was unreasonable).
Finally, this Court’s May 9, 2016 Opinion noted that
Plaintiff had not pled a basis for equitable tolling because he
did not provide any justification or explanation for the nearly
five-year delay. See, e.g., Santos v. Gainey, 417 F. App'x 109,
111 (3d Cir. 2010) (holding that because plaintiff did not
explain why he waited almost two years before initiating the
process in a prison for completing the in forma pauperis
application, federal equitable tolling should not apply to him).
Nevertheless, this Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s
Complaint was without prejudice to Plaintiff presenting an
argument in favor of equitable tolling.
Plaintiff was given
leave to file, within 45 days, an application to re-open
accompanied by a submission which addressed, in writing, the
issue of equitable tolling.
In response to the Court’s dismissal of his case, Plaintiff
submitted a letter dated June 7, 2016 (ECF No. 4), which states
I am requesting a review of your recent decision to
dismiss my case without prejudice (attached). The
basis of this application is that I was suffering from
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER after leaving the
military. I would like the opportunity to submit to
the court medical evidence of my incapacity to proceed
in this matter.
(Letter, June 7, 2016, ECF No. 4).
This letter fails to address any equitable tolling issues.
As previously explained to Plaintiff, “[e]quitable tolling is a
rare remedy to be applied in unusual circumstances . . . .”
Wallace, 549 U.S. at 396.
“It 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)).
Further, “[t]o obtain the benefit of equitable tolling, a party
also must show that ‘she exercised due diligence in pursuing and
preserving her claim.’” Id. (quoting Santos, 559 F.3d at 197);
see also Vasquez v. Batiste, No. 14-4366, 2015 WL 6687549, at *3
(D.N.J. Oct. 30, 2015).
To the extent Plaintiff means to argue that he is entitled
to equitable tolling because he has been diagnosed with post
traumatic stress disorder, this bald assertion, without more, is
insufficient to trigger equitable tolling.
The Court notes that
Plaintiff requested the “opportunity to submit to the court
medical evidence.” (Letter, June 7, 2016, ECF No. 4).
if relevant, such evidence could have been, and should have
been, submitted to the Court along with Plaintiff’s arguments in
favor of equitable tolling.
To be clear, in order for equitable
tolling to apply in this case, Plaintiff must explain the
unusual circumstances which caused his nearly five-year delay in
filing a complete in forma pauperis application as required by
the terms of this Court’s May 20, 2011 Order. See Order, Favors
v. State of N.J., 11-2750 (NLH) (D.N.J. May 20, 2011), ECF No.
Because Plaintiff’s June 7, 2016 letter (ECF No. 4) does not
provide any such explanation, the case will be reclosed.
For the foregoing reasons, Clerk of the Court will be
directed to reclose this case.
An appropriate Order will be entered.
__s/ Noel L. Hillman_____
NOEL L. HILLMAN
United States District Judge
Dated: July 7, 2016
At Camden, New Jersey
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