FARRISH v. CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/31/17. (jbk, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
DARNELL J. FARRISH,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL,
No. 17-cv-01521 (JBS-AMD)
Darnell J. Farrish, Plaintiff Pro Se
South Woods State Prison
215 South Burlington Road
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Darnell J. Farrish seeks to bring a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden
County Jail (“CCJ”). Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
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
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss the complaint without prejudice for failure to state a
claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
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 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 19831 for alleged violations of Plaintiff’s constitutional
Section 1983 provides: “Every person who, under color of any
statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State .
. . 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
rights. In order to set forth a prima facie case under § 1983, a
plaintiff must show: “(1) a person deprived him of a federal
right; and (2) the person who deprived him of that right acted
under color of state or territorial law.” Groman v. Twp. of
Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980)).
Generally, for purposes of actions under § 1983,
“[t]he term ‘persons’ includes local and state officers acting
under color of state law.” Carver v. Foerster, 102 F.3d 96, 99
(3d Cir. 1996) (citing Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991)).2 To
say that a person was “acting under color of state law” means
that the defendant in a § 1983 action “exercised power [that the
defendant] possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer [was] clothed with the authority of
state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988) (citation
omitted). Generally, then, “a public employee acts under color
of state law while acting in his official capacity or while
exercising his responsibilities pursuant to state law.” Id.
injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper
proceeding for redress . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
2 “Person” is not strictly limited to individuals who are state
and local government employees, however. For example,
municipalities and other local government units, such as
counties, also are considered “persons” for purposes of § 1983.
See Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658,
Because Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged that a
person deprived him of a federal right, the complaint does not
meet the standards necessary to set forth a prima facie case
under § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that he was confined in the CCJ
from August 9, 2006 to September 2007, March to April 2016, and
August to October 2016. Complaint § III. Plaintiff states:
“During time at CCCF I was forced to live in overcrowded,
deplorable, unsanitary and very stressful living quarters.
Housed with 4 men inside of a cell that only built to house 2
men. I had to sleep under the bunk beds, on the floor by the
toilet. Trays of food being served to me on the floor where mice
are seen before the cell door is opened to pass trays inside.”
Id. He further states, “Officers assigned me to a cell and unit
which was overcrowded.” Id. Even accepting these statements as
true for screening purposes only, there is not enough factual
support for the Court to infer a constitutional violation has
Plaintiff lists alleged injuries of “depression” and
states cursory and conclusory allegations of “deplorable,
unsanitary and very stressful living conditions” that are
insufficient, without more, to state a claim for relief. In
order to make out a plausible claim for relief and survive this
Court’s review under § 1915, Plaintiff must plead something more
than “labels and conclusions” and allege enough facts to support
a reasonable inference that defendants deprived him of a
constitutional right. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. For a pretrial
detainee, this means Plaintiff must plead facts showing that the
conditions he encountered shock the conscience and thus violated
his due process rights. See Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 233
(3d Cir. 2008) (noting due process analysis requires courts to
consider whether the totality of the conditions “cause[s]
inmates to endure such genuine privations and hardship over an
extended period of time, that the adverse conditions become
excessive in relation to the purposes assigned to them.”). Some
relevant factors are the dates and length of the confinement(s),
whether Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee or convicted prisoner,
In addition, the CCJ may not be sued under § 1983.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from CCJ for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The CCJ, however, is
not a “person” within the meaning of § 1983; therefore, the
claims against it must be dismissed with prejudice. 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)). Because the claims against the CCJ must be dismissed
with prejudice, the claims may not proceed and Plaintiff may not
name the CCJ as a defendant.
Moreover, to the extent the complaint seeks relief for
conditions Plaintiff encountered during periods of confinement
ending prior to March 2015, those claims are barred by the
statute of limitations and must be dismissed with prejudice,
meaning that Plaintiff cannot recover for those claims because
they have been brought too late.3 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. N.J. 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).
Plaintiff alleges the events giving rise to his claims
occurred during three separate incarcerations, August 9, 2006 to
September 2007, March to April 2016 and August to October 2016.
Complaint § III. The incarceration of August 9, 2006 to
September 2007 occurred more than two years prior to the filing
of Plaintiff’s complaint. The allegedly unconstitutional
conditions of confinement at CCJ, namely the overcrowding, would
have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of his
Plaintiff filed this complaint on March 6, 2017.
detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s
claims arising from this incarceration expired well before this
complaint was filed in 2017. Plaintiff therefore cannot recover
for the claims related to that detention.4
As Plaintiff may be able to amend his complaint to
address the deficiencies noted by the Court, the Court shall
grant Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint within 30 days of
the date of this order. However, in the event Plaintiff does
elect to file an amended complaint, he should focus only on the
facts of his confinements from 2016. Because Plaintiff’s earlier
claims are barred by the statute of limitations and must be
dismissed with prejudice, Plaintiff may not assert those claims
in an amended complaint.
Plaintiff should note that when an amended complaint
is filed, the original complaint no longer performs any function
in the case and cannot be utilized to cure defects in the
amended complaint, unless the relevant portion is specifically
incorporated in the new complaint. 6 Wright, Miller & Kane,
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).
Federal Practice and Procedure 1476 (2d ed. 1990) (footnotes
omitted). An amended complaint may adopt some or all of the
allegations in the original complaint, but the identification of
the particular allegations to be adopted must be clear and
explicit. Id. To avoid confusion, the safer course is to file an
amended complaint that is complete in itself.5 Id.
For the reasons stated above, the claims against the
CCJ are dismissed with prejudice. The claims arising from
Plaintiff’s August 2006 to September 2007 confinement is barred
by the statute of limitations and therefore are also dismissed
with prejudice. The remainder of the complaint is dismissed
without prejudice for failure to state a claim. The Court will
reopen the matter in the event Plaintiff files an amended
complaint within the time allotted by the Court.
An appropriate order follows.
May 31, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
The amended complaint shall be subject to screening prior to
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