REVELL v. CAMDEN COUNTY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/8/2017. (dmr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-cv-06938 (JBS-AMD)
Rhonda Revell, Plaintiff Pro Se
600B South 4th Street
Camden, NJ 08103
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Rhonda Revell seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint against Camden County (“County”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
Section 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 28 U.S.C. § 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: “I was put in a room with 4
other females. When I got into the cell the only place for my
mat was directly by the toilet and the door. I was the last
person to fit in the cell . . . It was too many females in my
cell. ” Complaint § III(C).
With respect to purported injuries in connection with these
alleged events, Plaintiff alleges “constant back problems” and
“unable to sit for long periods of time.” Id. § IV.
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to
these claims occurred: “Early or mid 2000’s during the
summertime.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff seeks “any moneys [sic] approved in this matter.”
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 the County for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Primarily, the Complaint must be dismissed because “[t]here
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.”). Plaintiff must plead facts
showing that the relevant 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 the County itself
was the “moving force” behind an alleged constitutional
violation. Monell, 436 U.S. at 689. Plaintiff has asserted no
such facts in the Complaint. Accordingly, the claims against the
County must be dismissed with prejudice.
Furthermore, the statute of limitations requires that the
Complaint be dismissed with prejudice. “[P]laintiffs 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
“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).
2 “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
(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
Plaintiff states that the alleged events giving rise to the
claims in the Complaint occurred: “Early or mid 2000’s during
the summertime.” Complaint § III(B). Construing these
allegations to refer to the period between 2000 and 2005, and
recognizing that the allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at
the time of detention, the statute of limitations for
Plaintiff’s claims therefore expired, at the latest, in 2007. As
there are no grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of
limitations,3 the Complaint will be dismissed with prejudice.
state a claim.” Ostuni v. Wa Wa's Mart, 532 F. App’x 110, 111–12
(3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam).
3 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)).
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 8, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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