ADAMS v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL
OPINION. Signed by Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 6/30/17. (jbk, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
MATTHEW T. ADAMS,
No. 16-cv-06931 (JBS-AMD)
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL,
Matthew T. Adams
Plaintiff Pro Se
646 State Street, Apt. 4
Camden, NJ 08102
SIMANDLE, District Judge:
Plaintiff Matthew T. Adams seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County
Jail (“CCJ”) for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
At this time, the Court must review the Complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to determine whether it should be
dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C.
Here, Plaintiff’s Complaint states: “Nov 1 2010 I was
sentence [sic] in Camden County Jail where I was told to sleep
on the floor[.] [T]heir [sic] wasn’t enough space for me[.]
[T]heir [sic] were 4 of us to the cell and me being overwait
[sic] trying to fit somewhere was humiluting [sic] and degrading
and embarrassing[,] not to mention that every time one [of] the
inmate[s] had to urinate I could feel the splatter. Most of that
entire time was sleepless nights because I just could not get
off that floor. [W]hen [I] complain[ed] to the staff sergeant[,]
he said nothing is going to change[;] we are overcrowded[.] Oct
31/06 [sic] on the floor again and this time while on the floor
my sneakers 2 sizes small [sic] and I caught infection[.]
[A]nother time my jumpsuit 4X, [and] I needed at least 8X.
[T]hey made me walk around like I had on spandex[.] [E]verybody
including the gaurds [sic] laughed at [me].” Complaint § III.
Plaintiff alleges that he “suffer[ed] deep emostional [sic] pain
being treated like I was a[n] animal[.] [T]he cell[s] were
deplor-able [sic][.] I [was] force[d] to where [sic] small
fitting sneakes [sic] & jumpsuite [sic]. Caught so many
infections, back pain[.] I felt less then [sic] human.
Nightmares[,] arthritis, force[d] to live in a cell with 4
people made for 2.” Id. § IV.
Plaintiff alleges the events giving rise to these claims
allegedly occurred: “11/01/10 – 36 days[;] 10/31/06 – 74 days[;]
9/11/05 – 16 days[;] 3/27/05 – 12 days.” Id. § III.
Plaintiff seeks $4,000 in damages, along with “help for the
current [inmates,] a lot of them were just like myself[.]
[T]here [sic] voices were never heard[.] I know I didn’t derseve
[sic] to be treating [sic] that way and they don’t either.” Id.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
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. Pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), this
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 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff
is proceeding in forma pauperis.
To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a
claim, the 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 seeks monetary damages from CCJ for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Primarily, the
Complaint must be dismissed as the CCJ 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 CCJ must be dismissed with
Generally, “plaintiffs who file complaints subject to
dismissal under [§ 1915] should receive leave to amend unless
amendment would be inequitable 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). Plaintiff alleges the events giving rise to
these claims allegedly occurred: “11/01/10 – 36 days[;] 10/31/06
– 74 days[;] 9/11/05 – 16 days[;] 3/27/05 – 12 days.” Complaint
§ III. The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement
at CCJ would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the
time of his detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for
Plaintiff’s claims expired on or about December 7, 2012. As
there are no grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of
limitations,2 the Complaint will be dismissed with prejudice.
“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
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
June 30, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
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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