MORALES v. CAMDEN COUNTY FREEHOLDERS
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 2/28/17. (jbk, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-7183 (JBS-AMD)
CAMDEN COUNTY FREEHOLDERS,
Angel Morales, Plaintiff Pro Se
230 Cooper Ave.
Woodlynne, NJ 08107
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Angel Morales seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden County
Freeholders (“Freeholders”). 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 he was confined in the Camden County
Jail (“CCJ”) in 2004. Complaint § III. In the fact section, he
states: “Mental Distress, Physical Ailments P.T.S.D., Paranoia,
unstable living arrangements (taking medications).” 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 for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement encountered at the
CCJ. However, the complaint is barred by the statute of
New Jersey's two-year limitations period for personal
injury governs § 1983 actions in federal court.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).
“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).
Plaintiff alleges he was detained at the CCJ in 2004. 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 in 2006. 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) (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 order
February 28, 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)).
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