WENTZ v. CAMDEN COUNTY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/9/2017. (tf, n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JEFFREY D. WENTZ,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-6513 (JBS-AMD)
Jeffrey Wentz, Plaintiff Pro Se
318 West Street
Camden, NJ 08103
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Jeffrey Wentz seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County.
Complaint, Docket Entry 1. Based on Plaintiff’s affidavit of
indigency, the Court will grant his application to proceed in
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
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.
Plaintiff alleges that he was confined in the Camden County
Jail (“CCJ”) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010.
Complaint § III. Plaintiff states: “I would like the courts to
compensate me for the horrible inhumane [illegible] conditions
which I  subject to while I housed in Camden County Jail. I
housed in a cell with more than 2 people and sleeping on the
floor of the jail cell hard floor with a mat.” 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
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 for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement encountered at the
CCJ in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010. However, the
complaint is barred by the statute of limitations.
New Jersey's two-year limitations period for personal
injury governs § 1983 actions in federal court.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.,
“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).
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 in 2003, 2004,
2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010. 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
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012, respectively. 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).
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)).
For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed with
prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate order
February 9, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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