BLAKNEY v. CAMDEN COUNTY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/4/2017. (dmr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06808 (JBS-AMD)
Plaintiff Pro Se
1094 South Common Road
Camden, NJ 08104
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Tamekia Blakney seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against Camden County (“County”) and Camden County
Jail (“CCJ”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
Entry 1, at 1 (“Camden County”) and § III(A) (“Camden County
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: “Sleep on
floor under the toilet in 2008 and 2012.” Complaint § III(C).
With respect to purported injuries in connection with these
alleged events, Plaintiff states: “Back hurt laying [sic] on the
floor” (id. § IV) in “Camden County Jail.” Id. § III(A).
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to
these claims occurred: “2008 and 2012.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff requests no relief with respect to these claims.
Id. § V (“none”).
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 the County and CCJ for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Plaintiff alleges Camden County is responsible for
unconstitutional conditions of confinement in 2008 and 2012.
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 her detention in 2008 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 her 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 her cause of
action, there are no extraordinary circumstances that prevented
Plaintiff from filing her claim, and there is nothing to
indicate Plaintiff filed her 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 she may not file
an amended complaint concerning the events of 2008 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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