DAWSON v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/3/2017. (tf,n.m. )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06902 (JBS-AMD)
Lavaughn Dawson, Plaintiff Pro Se
3007 Clinton Street
Camden, NJ 08105
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Lavaughn Dawson seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”)
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, the Court will dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff’s Complaint states in its entirety: “I slept on
the floor during my stay in the county jail.” Complaint §
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to
these claims occurred: “January 2011 – February 2011, February
2013 - March 2013, July 2013 – August 2013, October 2013 – April
2014.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff does not identify or otherwise describe any
alleged injuries arising from these claims. Id. § IV.
Plaintiff does not identify or otherwise describe any
relief requested in connection with these claims. 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 CCCF for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Primarily, the Complaint must be dismissed as CCCF 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
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, which is governed by New Jersey's
two-year limitations period for personal injury.1 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).
The Complaint states that the alleged events giving rise to
Plaintiff’s claims occurred: “January 2011 – February 2011,
February 2013 - March 2013, July 2013 – August 2013, October
2013 – April 2014.” Complaint § III(B). The allegedly
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 April 2016. As there are no grounds for equitable
tolling of the statute of limitations,2 the Complaint will be
“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).
2 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
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
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)).
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