GIBSON v. OWENS
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 5/17/2017. (tf, n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
CHARLES E. GIBSON,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 17-2281 (JBS-AMD)
WARDEN DAVID OWENS,
Charles E. Gibson, Plaintiff Pro Se
PO Box 90431
Camden, NJ 08103
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge:
Plaintiff Charles E. Gibson, a prisoner confined at Camden
County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), seeks to bring a civil
rights complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden
David Owens. 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 seeks relief for allegedly unconstitutional
conditions of confinement during his detention in the CCCF. He
states he was detained in CCCF “on or about July 2005 . . . .”
Complaint ¶ 6. He alleges that he “was told to go into a two man
cell that already housed 3 inmates by a correction officer that
was on shift. When [he] refused the only other option was to go
to the hole” Id. He further alleges that he was forced to sleep
“on the floor next [to] the toilet where other inmates had to
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
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)).
Plaintiff’s complaint is barred by the statute of
limitations. 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 at
CCCF, namely the alleged overcrowding, would have been
immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of his detention;
therefore, the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s claims
expired in 2007 at the latest, well before this complaint was
filed in 2017. 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 2005. 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
For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed with
prejudice as it is barred by the statute of limitations. An
appropriate order follows.
May 17, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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