HICKS v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL
OPINION FILED. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/4/17. (js)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
CARL W. HICKS, SR.,
No. 16-cv-06804 (JBS-AMD)
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL,
Carl W. Hicks, Sr.
Plaintiff Pro Se
519 Pfeiffer Street, Apt. B
Camden, NJ 08105
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Carl W. Hicks, Sr. seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
Entry 1. Plaintiff’s Complaint names Camden County Jail (“CCJ”)
as defendant in the Complaint’s caption (id. at 1) along with
Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) as defendant in §§
I(B) and III(A). Id.
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 got locked
up for poss. COS and I am diabetic. They would not give me my
med. so I had a diabetic stroke and had to get rushed to the
hospital were [sic] I stayed for a week or two. And then one of
the nurses said get him out of here asap. And allso [sic] messed
my body up from sleeping on the floor.” Complaint § III(C).
Plaintiff contends that he suffered the following injuries
from these alleged events: “My joints are so bad I have to ware
[sic] a backbrace and a knee brace when it get [sic] cold[.] My
whole body hurts. Can’t play with my grandkids no more [sic].”
Id. § IV.
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to his
claims occurred “2005[,] 2006.” Id. § III(B).
With respect to relief that Plaintiff requests as to his
claims, he seeks “to get me some compensation for all the lost
time. I used to be able to fix cars[.] Not no more [sic] because
my back hurts so bad from sleeping on that hard floor in the
jail. From the time I came in till [sic] the time I went up
stairs [sic] to 7 day lock in I felt like a cage animal. My body
is still messed up today.” Id. § V. Plaintiff requests “$20,000”
in damages. Id.
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 and CCCF for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Primarily, the Complaint must be dismissed as CCJ and CCCF
are not “state actors” within the meaning of § 1983. See, e.g.,
Grabow v. Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F. Supp. 537, 538–
39 (D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a “person” under
§ 1983). Accordingly, the claims against CCJ and CCCF must be
dismissed with prejudice.
Furthermore, “plaintiffs who file complaints subject to
dismissal should receive leave to amend unless amendment would
be inequitable under [§ 1915] or futile.” Grayson v. Mayview
State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002). This Court denies
leave to amend at this time as Plaintiff’s Complaint is barred
by the statute of limitations. 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 and 2006; therefore, the statute
of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims expired in 2008 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 and 2006.
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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