TOOMER v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/4/2017. (tf, n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
WILLIAM C. TOOMER,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL
William C. Toomer, Plaintiff Pro Se
553 Church Road
Sicklerville, NJ 08081
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff William C. Toomer seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”). 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.
Plaintiff alleges that he was detained in the CCCF in 2001
(the dates are illegible), on October 21, 2014 for 127 days,
July 31, 2005 for 3 days, November 29, 2005 for 129 days, July
17, 2009 for 55 days, November 30, 2012 for 116 days, and July
8, 2014 for 139 days. Complaint § III. He further states: “Was
told on the assigned to sleep on the floor the [sic] I spend in
Camden County Correctional Facility order by the officer on
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints
prior to service of the summons and complaint 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’s complaint alleges that he experienced
unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was detained
in the CCCF in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, and
2014.1 Civil rights claims under § 1983 are governed by New
Plaintiff identifies his periods of confinement by the number
of days for which he was confined. The Court takes judicial
notice that Plaintiff’s 127-day October 21, 2004, confinement
ended on February 25, 2005; Plaintiff’s 3-day July 31, 2005,
confinement ended on August 3, 2005; Plaintiff’s 129-day
November 29, 2005, confinement ended on April 7, 2006;
Plaintiff’s 55-day July 17, 2009, confinement ended on September
10, 2009; Plaintiff’s 116-day November 30, 2012, confinement
ended on March 26, 2013; and Plaintiff’s 139-day July 8, 2014,
confinement ended on November 24, 2014.
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 at
CCCF, namely Plaintiff’s alleged sleeping on the floor
presumably due to overcrowding, would have been immediately
apparent to Plaintiff at the time of his detention; therefore,
the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims arising from
confinements in 2001, October 2004 to February 2005, July to
August 2005, November 2005 to April 2006, July to September
2009, and November 2012 to March 2013 expired, respectively, in
2003, February 2007, August 2007, April 2008, September 2011,
and March 2015, well before this complaint was filed on November
28, 2016. In addition, Plaintiff’s claims arising from his
confinement from July 8, 2014, to November 24, 2014, expired on
November 24, 2016, prior to Plaintiff’s filing of the complaint
on November 28, 2016. In sum, Plaintiff has filed his 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 his cause of action, there are no
extraordinary circumstances that prevented Plaintiff from filing
his claim, and there is nothing to indicate Plaintiff filed his
claim on time but in the wrong forum. See Omar v. Blackman, 590
F. App’x 162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014).
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 he may not file
an amended complaint concerning the events of 2001, 2004, 2005,
2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2014. 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
May 4, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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