RUSSELL v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/4/17. (jbk, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
GARY D. RUSSELL,
No. 16-cv-06800 (JBS-AMD)
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL,
Gary D. Russell
Plaintiff Pro Se
1055 North 34th Street
Camden, NJ 08105
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Gary D. Russell seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
28 U.S.C. 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 Section 1915(e)(2)(B)
because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
For the reasons set forth below it is clear from the
complaint that the claim arose more than two years before the
complaint was filed. It is therefore barred by the two-year
statute of limitations that governs claims of unconstitutional
conduct under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court will therefore dismiss
the complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
Plaintiff’s Complaint states in its entirety: “I was
incarcerated and staff made me sleep on the floor[.] [T]he
county jail was over crowded [sic] so I had to sleep on the
floor. My back started to hurt after you sleep on the floor over
time. It was other inmates as well had to sleep on the floor. A
few people I know and some family members knew what happened to
me when I was locked up.” Complaint § III(C).
With respect to alleged injuries sustained from these
purported events, Plaintiff claims: “I have back problems and my
legs start to hurt cause [sic] of that. I have problems sleeping
at night because my back and legs be [sic] in pain.” Id. § IV.
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to his
claims occurred “2004, 1/2007, 2/2010, 9/2012. During these
dates, I was locked up.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff “would like compensation for my pain and
suffering. Finatually [sic] I have problems finding a job
because of my injuries.” Id. § V.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
To survive sua sponte screening under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) for failure to state a claim, a 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 asserts claims against CCJ for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Plaintiff states
that the alleged events giving rise to his claims occurred
“2004, 1/2007, 2/2010, 9/2012. During these dates, I was locked
up.” Complaint § III(B). Civil rights claims under § 1983 are
governed by New Jersey's limitations period for personal injury
and must be brought within two years of the claim’s accrual. See
Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985); Dique v. New Jersey
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 Pa. Dep't of Corr., 773 F.3d 472, 480
(3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Kach v. Hose, 589 F.3d 626, 634 (3d Cir.
The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at
CCJ would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the
time of his detention in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2012; therefore,
the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims expired in
2014 at the latest, well before this complaint was filed in
2016. Plaintiff has filed his lawsuit too late. Although the
Court may toll, or extend, the statute of limitations in the
interests of justice, certain circumstances must be present
before it can do so. Tolling is not warranted in this case
because the state has not “actively misled” Plaintiff as to the
existence of his cause of action, there are no extraordinary
circumstances that prevented Plaintiff from filing his claim,
and there is nothing to indicate Plaintiff filed his claim on
time but in the wrong forum. See Omar v. Blackman, 590 F. App’x
162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014).
As it is clear from the face of the complaint that more
than two years have passed since Plaintiff’s claims accrued, the
complaint is dismissed with prejudice, meaning he may not file
an amended complaint concerning the events of 2004, 2007, 2010,
and 2012. 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).
For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is dismissed
with prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate
May 4, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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