BECKHAM v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION FILED. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 1/17/17. (js)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06504 (JBS-AMD)
Darryl L. Beckham, Plaintiff Pro Se
401 Gregorys Way
Voorhees, NJ 08043
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Darryl L. Beckham seeks to bring a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden
County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”). Complaint, Docket Entry
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.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss the complaint without prejudice for failure to state a
claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
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). “[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)).
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from CCCF for an
allegedly unconstitutional strip search. As the CCCF is not a
“state actor” within the meaning of § 1983, the claims against
it must be dismissed with prejudice. See Crawford v. McMillian,
No. 16-3412, 2016 WL 6134846 (3d Cir. Oct. 21, 2016) (“[T]he
prison is not an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983.”) (citing Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir.
Plaintiff may be able to amend the complaint to name
state actors who were personally involved in the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, however. To that
end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the
complaint within 30 days of the date of this order.1
Plaintiff is advised that the amended complaint must
plead sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that a
constitutional violation has occurred in order to survive this
Court’s review under § 1915. Plaintiff alleges he experienced an
unconstitutional strip search during his detention between 2010
and 2015. Complaint § III. The factual portion of the complaint
states in its entirety: “I was stripped search in a[n]
unlawfully way by being stripped down bare necked [sic], had to
squat [and] bend over.” Complaint § III. Even accepting the
statement as true for screening purposes only, there is not
enough factual support for the Court to infer a constitutional
violation has occurred.
Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged a Fourth
Amendment violation for an improper strip search. Under the
Fourth Amendment, inmates have a limited right of bodily privacy
“subject to reasonable intrusions necessitated by the prison
The amended complaint shall be subject to screening prior to
setting.” Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d 313, 325 (3d Cir. 2016).
This right is very narrow, however. Id. at 326.
“The test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment
. . . requires a balancing of the need for the particular search
against the invasion of personal rights that the search entails.
Courts must consider the scope of the particular intrusion, the
manner in which it is conducted, the justification for
initiating it, and the place in which it is conducted.” Bell v.
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559 (1979). A prisoner search policy is
constitutional if it strikes a reasonable balance between the
inmate's privacy and the needs of the institution. Parkell, 833
F.3d at 326 (citing Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of
Cty. of Burlington, 132 S. Ct. 1510, 1515, 1517 (2012)).
Plaintiff’s cursory allegations that the strip search
was illegal is insufficient to state a claim for relief. In the
absence of further facts regarding the circumstances of the
search, the claim cannot proceed at this time. Plaintiff may
amend this claim in an amended complaint, however.2
Plaintiff has not specified the date on which the strip search
occurred. To the extent the complaint seeks relief for events
Plaintiff encountered during confinement prior to October 5,
2014, those claims are barred by the statute of limitations.
Claims brought under § 1983 are governed by New Jersey's twoyear limitations period for personal injury. See Wilson v.
Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985); Dique v. N.J. 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
Plaintiff should note that when an amended complaint
is filed, the original complaint no longer performs any function
in the case and cannot be utilized to cure defects in the
amended complaint, unless the relevant portion is specifically
incorporated in the new complaint. 6 Wright, Miller & Kane,
Federal Practice and Procedure 1476 (2d ed. 1990) (footnotes
omitted). An amended complaint may adopt some or all of the
allegations in the original complaint, but the identification of
the particular allegations to be adopted must be clear and
explicit. Id. To avoid confusion, the safer course is to file an
amended complaint that is complete in itself. Id. The amended
complaint may not adopt or repeat claims that have been
dismissed with prejudice by the Court.
For the reasons stated above, the complaint is
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim. The
Court will reopen the matter in the event Plaintiff files an
amended complaint within the time allotted by the Court.
Pa. Dep't of Corr., 773 F.3d 472, 480 (3d Cir. 2014). The
allegedly unlawful nature of the strip search that occurred at
CCCF would have been immediately known by Plaintiff at the time
of the search; therefore, if the allegedly illegal search
occurred prior to October 5, 2014, the statute of limitations
for Plaintiff's claim has expired and it must be dismissed with
prejudice. If the allegedly illegal search occurred within the
statute of limitations period, Plaintiff may amend his complaint
to provide the supporting facts.
An appropriate Order follows.
January 17, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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