MUNIER v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 4/24/2017. (tf, n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HUNLEY D. MUNIER,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Hunley D. Munier, Plaintiff Pro Se
South Woods State Prison
215 South Burlington Road
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Hunley D. Munier seeks to bring a civil rights
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) 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, it is clear from the Complaint
that the claim arose more than two years before the Complaint
was filed. It is therefore barred by the two-year statute of
limitations that governs claims of unconstitutional conduct
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court will therefore dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C.
The Complaint alleges that during the period “Jan. 2010 –
Dec. 2012,” Plaintiff was “forced to live with four other men in
a cell designed for two inmates.” Complaint §§ III(B)-(C). As a
result of these alleged events, Plaintiff claims to have been
“mentally and emotionally traumatized for a substantial period
of months.” Id. § IV. Plaintiff seeks “compensation comparable
to the original plaintiffs who w[ere] a part of the class action
suit against Camden County Correctional Facility.”1 Id. § V.
Given that Plaintiff references “compensation comparable to the
original plaintiffs who w[ere] a part of the class action suit
against [CCCF]” (Complaint § V), the Court advises Plaintiff
that he is one of thousands of members of a certified class in
the case on this Court's docket entitled, Dittimus-Bey v. Camden
County Correctional Facility, Civil No. 05-cv-0063 (JBS), which
is a class action case. The class plaintiffs are all persons
confined at the CCCF, as either pretrial detainees or convicted
prisoners, at any time from January 6, 2005, until the present
time. The class of plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory
relief about unconstitutional conditions of confinement at the
CCCF involving overcrowding. That class action does not involve
money damages for individuals. A proposed final settlement of
that case, which describes the settlement in detail, was
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)
and 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e because Plaintiff is a prisoner
proceeding in forma pauperis and is filing a claim about the
conditions of his confinement.
To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a
claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to
preliminarily approved on February 22, 2017. At present, various
measures already undertaken in the Second and Third Consent
Decrees under Court approval have reduced the jail population to
fewer prisoners than the intended design capacity for the jail.
This has greatly reduced or eliminated triple and quadruple
bunking in two-person cells, as explained in the proposed Sixth
and Final Consent Decree, which would continue those
requirements under Court supervision for two more years.
According to the Notice to all class members that was approved
in the Dittimus-Bey case on February 22, 2017, any class member
can object to the proposed settlement by filing an objection in
the Dittimus-Bey case before April 24, 2017. A final Court
hearing is set for May 23, 2017, at which any objections will be
considered. If the Dittimus-Bey settlement is finally approved
after the May 23rd hearing, Plaintiff and other class members
will be barred from seeking injunctive or declaratory relief for
the period of time from January 6, 2005, until the date of final
approval, but the settlement does not bar any individual class
member from seeking money damages in an individual case.
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) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “[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)).
The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff experienced
unconstitutional conditions of confinement while incarcerated
from “Jan. 2010 – Dec. 2012.” Complaint § III(B). Civil rights
claims under § 1983 are governed by New Jersey's limitations
period for personal injury and must be brought within two years
of the claim’s accrual. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276
(1985); Dique v. New Jersey State Police, 603 F.3d 181, 185 (3d
Cir. 2010). “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 v. Sec'y Pa. Dep't of Corr., 773
F.3d 472, 480 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Kach v. Hose, 589 F.3d
626, 634 (3d Cir. 2009)).
The allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement,
namely the purported overcrowding and sleeping conditions in
cells, would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the
time of detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for
Plaintiff’s claims expired in December 2014 at the latest, well
before this Complaint was filed in 2016. Plaintiff has filed
this lawsuit too late. Although the Court may toll, or extend,
the statute of limitations in the interests of justice, certain
circumstances must be present before it can do so. Tolling is
not warranted in this case because the state has not “actively
misled” Plaintiff as to the existence of Plaintiff’s cause of
action, there are no extraordinary circumstances that prevented
Plaintiff from filing the claim, and there is nothing to
indicate Plaintiff filed the claim on time but in the wrong
forum. See Omar v. Blackman, 590 F. App’x 162, 166 (3d Cir.
As it is clear from the face of the Complaint that more
than two years have passed since Plaintiff’s claims accrued, the
Complaint is dismissed with prejudice, meaning Plaintiff may not
file an amended complaint concerning the events of “Jan. 2010 –
Dec. 2012.” Complaint § III(B). 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
April 24, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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