SPAULDING v. THE CITY OF CAMDEN
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/4/2017. (tf, n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
COREEM J. SPAULDING,
No. 16-cv-06801 (JBS-AMD)
CITY OF CAMDEN,
Coreem J. Spaulding
Plaintiff Pro Se
3056 Kearsarge Road
Camden, NJ 08104
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Coreem J. Spaulding seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against the City of Camden (“Camden”) and Camden
County Jail (“CCJ”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
Entry 1, at 1 and § III(A).
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 went to
county jail and slept on floor due to over crowded [sic]. 9 to 5
men to a cell.” Complaint § III(C).
With respect to purported injuries in connection with the
alleged events, Plaintiff states: “I had back problems but
didn’t see nurse for it until I went to prison.” Id. § IV.
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to his
claims occurred: “March 2005, Sep 2007, Dec 2010.” Id. § III(B).
With respect to relief that Plaintiff requests as to his
claims, he states: “I want the Court to compensate me and I want
$10,000.” 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 Camden and CCJ for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement based on
confinements occurring in 2005, 2007, and 2010. 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. 2009)).
The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at
CCJ would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the
time of his detention in 2005, 2007, and 2010; therefore, the
statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims expired in 2012 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.
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 2005, 2007, and
2010. 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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