JENKINS v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY et al
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/3/2017. (TH, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
GRADY N. JENKINS,
and CAMDEN BOARD OF
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06879 (JBS-AMD)
Grady N. Jenkins, Plaintiff Pro Se
1018 South Merrimac Road
Camden, NJ 08104
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Grady N. Jenkins seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against the Camden County Correctional Facility
(“CCCF”) and the Camden Board of Freeholders (“BOF”) pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1. Based on Plaintiff’s
affidavit of indigency, the Court will grant his application to
proceed in forma pauperis.
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, the Court will dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff’s Complaint states: “Was forced to sleep on floor
due to overcrowding. The warden failed to adhered [sic] to the
decree issued by the 3rd district court. Board of Freeholders
failure to enforce administrative code regarding housing of
county jail inmates.” Complaint § III(C).
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to
these claims occurred: “2006.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff claims “mental anquish [sic], duress & back pain”
injuries arising from these events. Id. § IV.
Plaintiff seeks “monetary, punitive, lawyer fees & any
appropreate [sic] relief” in connection with his claims. 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 the CCCF and the BOF for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
First, the Complaint must be dismissed as to claims against
the CCCF because it is not a “state actor” 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 CCCF
must be dismissed with prejudice.
Second, the BOF is not a separate legal entity from Camden
County and is therefore not independently subject to suit. See
Bermudez v. Essex Cty. D.O.C., No. 12-6035, 2013 WL 1405263, at
*5 (D.N.J. Apr. 4, 2013) (citing cases). “There is no respondeat
superior theory of municipal liability, so a city may not be
held vicariously liable under § 1983 for the actions of its
agents. Rather, a municipality may be held liable only if its
policy or custom is the ‘moving force’ behind a constitutional
violation.” Sanford v. Stiles, 456 F.3d 298, 314 (3d Cir. 2006)
(citing Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658,
691 (1978)). See also Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503
U.S. 115, 122 (1992) (“The city is not vicariously liable under
§ 1983 for the constitutional torts of its agents: It is only
liable when it can be fairly said that the city itself is the
wrongdoer.”). A Complaint must plead facts showing that the
relevant Camden County policy-makers are “responsible for either
the affirmative proclamation of a policy or acquiescence in a
well-settled custom.” Bielevicz v. Dubinon, 915 F.2d 845, 850
(3d Cir. 1990).1 In other words, Plaintiff must set forth facts
supporting an inference that Camden County itself was the
“moving force” behind the alleged constitutional violation.
“Policy is made when a decisionmaker possess[ing] final
authority to establish municipal policy with respect to the
action issues an official proclamation, policy, or edict.
Government custom can be demonstrated by showing that a given
course of conduct, although not specifically endorsed or
authorized by law, is so well-settled and permanent as virtually
to constitute law.” Kirkland v. DiLeo, 581 F. App'x 111, 118 (3d
Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)
(alteration in original).
Monell, 436 U.S. at 689. Plaintiff has not pled such facts to
impose liability on Camden County.
Finally, “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, which is governed by New Jersey's
two-year limitations period for personal injury.2 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.,
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 that the alleged events giving rise to his
claims occurred: “2006.” Complaint § III(B). The allegedly
“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).
unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCCF would have
been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of detention.
Accordingly, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims
expired in 2008. As there are no grounds for equitable tolling
of the statute of limitations,3 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).
For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is dismissed
with prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate
February 3, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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)).
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?