BURGESS v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/16/2017. (tf, n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-7062 (JBS-AMD)
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL,
Shavonne Burgess, Plaintiff Pro Se
5624 Stokes St.
Philadelphia, PA 19144
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Shavonne Burgess seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden County
Jail (“CCJ”). 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.
Plaintiff alleges that she was confined in the CCJ from
March 20 to April 30, 2014. Complaint § III. She states: “I was
housed in a bunk (room) where there was supposed to be two
person to a room, but there was three people on a block. They
had us sleeping on the floor w/ feces.” Id.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
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.
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 Crawford v. McMillian, 660 F.
App’x 113, 116 (3d Cir. 2016) (“[T]he prison is not an entity
subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”) (citing Fischer v.
Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973)). Accordingly, the
claims against CCJ must be dismissed with prejudice.
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.
“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
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 the events giving rise to her
claim occurred from March 20 to April 30, 2014. The allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCJ would have
been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of her
detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s
claims expired, at the latest, in April 2016. As there are no
grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations,2 the
complaint will be dismissed with prejudice. Ostuni v. Wa Wa's
Mart, 532 F. App’x 110, 112 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam)
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
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)).
(affirming dismissal with prejudice due to expiration of statute
For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed with
prejudice for failure to state a claim. An appropriate order
February 16, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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