WILLIAMS v. SOUTHWOODS STATE PRISON et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 4/10/2017. (rtm, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JOHN L. WILLIAMS, Jr.,
SOUTH WOODS STATE PRISON, and :
UCHC MEDICAL STAFF,
Civ. Action No. 17-1466 (RMB)
BUMB, District Judge:
Plaintiff John L. Williams, Jr., a prisoner confined in
South Woods State Prison, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, initiated
(ECF No. 1.)
The Court will construe this document
(ECF No. 1) as a prisoner civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C.
Plaintiff initiated this action without paying the
A District Court cannot grant an extension of a statute of
limitations to a pro se litigant.
See Wertheimer v. Grounds,
No. C 14–00502 LB, 2015 WL 1848536, at *3 (N.D. Ca. Apr. 22,
2015) (while a court can accommodate scheduling matters, it
cannot refuse to apply the statute of limitations to a pro se
litigant). The Court will construe Plaintiff’s document, filed
on March 3, 2017, as a prisoner civil rights complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed
pro se is ‘to be liberally construed’” (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
Plaintiff should be aware
that if he files an amended complaint after the statute of
limitations expires, it must relate back to a timely-filed
The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”), which
requirements for prisoners who are attempting to bring a civil
action in forma pauperis.
Under the Act, a prisoner bringing a
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
prisoner is unable to pay the fee.
prisoner also must submit a certified copy of his inmate trust
preceding the filing of his complaint.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
The prisoner must obtain this statement from the appropriate
official of each prison at which he was or is confined.
The entire fee to be paid in advance of filing a civil
complaint is $400.
That fee includes a filing fee of $350 plus
an administrative fee of $50, for a total of $400.
See Glover v. F.D.I.C., 698 F.3d 139, 145 (3d Cir.
2012) (describing relation back under Fed. R. Civ. P.
15(c)(1)(B)). Additionally, if a complaint is filed outside the
statute of limitations, Plaintiff may seek equitable tolling, if
extraordinary circumstances prevented him from timely filing.
See Freeman v. State, 347 N.J.Super. 11 (N.J. Super. Ct. App.
Div. 2002) (describing equitable tolling of § 1983 claims under
New Jersey law.)
assessed a filing fee of $350 and will not be responsible for
the $50 administrative fee.
If in forma pauperis status is
denied, the prisoner must pay the full $400, including the $350
filing fee and the $50 administrative fee, before the complaint
will be filed.
If the prisoner is granted in forma pauperis status, the
prisoner must pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee.
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
In each month that the amount in the
prisoner’s account exceeds $10.00, until the $350.00 filing fee
is paid, the agency having custody of the prisoner shall assess,
deduct from the prisoner’s account, and forward to the Clerk of
the Court, payment equal to 20% of the preceding month’s income
credited to the prisoner’s account.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
complaint that he must pay the filing fee in installments, and
that even if the full filing fee, or any part of it, has been
paid, the Court must dismiss the case if it finds that the
action is: (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
If the Court dismisses the case for any
of these reasons, the Act does not permit the prisoner to get
his filing fee back.
After Plaintiff completes his IFP application by submitting
his inmate trust fund account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, if he chooses
to do so, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28
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.2
I. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
A pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.)
This Court’s conclusive screening of Plaintiff’s claims is
reserved until he pays the filing fee or obtains in forma
pauperis status. See Izquierdo v. New Jersey, 532 F. App’x 71,
72-73 (3d Cir. July 25, 2013) (district court may decide whether
to dismiss the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) after
leave to proceed IFP is granted).
contained in a complaint.”
A court need not accept legal
threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, do not
suffice to state a claim.
Thus, “a court considering a
motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at 679.
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must
be supported by factual allegations.”
If a complaint can
be remedied by an amendment, a district court may not dismiss
the complaint with prejudice, but must permit the amendment.
Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir.
Plaintiff alleges the following in his submission, which
serious medical condition.
Staff members at South Woods State
Section 1983 claims
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
Section 1983 provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any
statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or
usage, of any State or Territory ...
subjects, or causes to be subjected, any
citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws, shall be liable to the party injured
in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress.
Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff
must allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, that the
alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting
under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988); Piecknick v. Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250, 1255–56 (3d
South Woods State Prison
The Eleventh Amendment states, “[t]he Judicial power of the
United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in
law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United
States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects
of any Foreign State.”
Under the Eleventh Amendment, a state
prison is immune from suit under § 1983.
Baker v. James T.
Vaughn Correctional Center, 425 F. App’x 83, 84 (3d Cir. 2011).
enactment of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”
42, 44 (3d Cir. 2015.)
Gromek v. Maenza, 614 F. App’x
New Jersey has not waived its Eleventh
Therefore, South Woods State Prison is
not a proper defendant to this action.
The proper defendants to a § 1983 action for money damages
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676 (a plaintiff must plead that each
individual actions, has violated the Constitution.)
UCHC Medical Staff
falsely accused Plaintiff of malingering his injury in a written
record is insufficient to state an Eighth Amendment claim for
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
to establish a violation of [a prisoner’s] constitutional right
medical need, and (ii) acts or omissions by prison officials
that indicate deliberate indifference to that need.
Camden County Correctional Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir.
2003) (quoting Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d 192, 197 (3d Cir.
A complaint that a physician has been
medical condition does not state a valid
claim of medical mistreatment under the
Eighth Amendment. . .
a prisoner must
harmful to evidence deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106.
Plaintiff’s complaint against UCHC
Medical Staff fails to state a claim under § 1983.
Plaintiff alleges retaliation by prison staff but he has
not described who retaliated against him, how they retaliated,
alleged sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for relief.
In order to establish illegal retaliation
plaintiff] must prove that: (1) his conduct
suffered an adverse action at the hands of
constitutionally protected conduct was a
substantial or motivating factor in the
motivation is almost never subject to proof
by direct evidence, [a plaintiff] must rely
retaliatory motive. He can satisfy his
burden with evidence of either (1) an
between the protected activity and the
allegedly retaliatory action, or (2) a
pattern of antagonism coupled with timing
that suggests a causal link.
Watson v. Rozum, 834 F.3d 417, 422 (3d Cir. 2016) (footnotes
The adverse action alleged must be “sufficient to
deter a person of ordinary firmness from exercising his First
Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 225 (3d
Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).
New Jersey Tort Claims Act
Plaintiff entitled his submission to the Court “Late Tort
Plaintiff may be trying to assert a state
malpractice claim under New Jersey law, he should be aware that
state law requires that he file a notice of claim with the
public entity “not later than the 90th day after accrual of the
cause of action,” and if that claim is denied, “the claimant may
without prejudice because Plaintiff failed to pay the filing fee
An appropriate order follows.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
United States District Judge
Dated: April 10, 2017
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