WYCKOFF v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 9/6/17. (jbk, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
KASHIFE H. WYCKOFF,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL
FACILITY; FORMER WARDEN ERIC
TAYLOR; FORMER DEPUTY WARDEN
FRANK LOBERTO; CAMDEN COUNTY
CLERK JOSEPH RIPA; WARDEN
DAVID OWENS; and WARDEN KATE
Kashife H. Wyckoff, Plaintiff Pro Se
5468 West Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19131
SIMANDLE, District Judge:
Plaintiff Kashife H. Wyckoff seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), Former Warden Eric Taylor,
Former Deputy Warden Frank Loberto, Camden County Clerk Joseph
Ripa, Warden David Owens, and Warden Kate Taylor, for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement in CCCF. Complaint,
Docket Entry 1. At this time, the Court must review the
complaint 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, the Court concludes that the complaint will proceed
The following factual allegations are taken from the
complaint and are accepted for purposes of this screening only.
The Court has made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiff’s
Plaintiff alleges he endured unconstitutional conditions of
confinement in CCCF during three separate periods of detentions.
Plaintiff alleges he was detained in the CCCF in 2005 and 2006
and had to be treated for scabies. Complaint ¶ 6. He further
alleges that he was detained in 2009 and 2010 during which he
was housed in a two person cell with three other inmates,
sleeping on the cement floor. Id. He further alleges that while
sleeping on the floor during this detention, he “experienced a
tearing sensation and nearly unbearable pain.” Id. He further
alleges he suffered a slipped disc in his back and has to wear a
hernia retention belt due to this injury. Id.
Plaintiff further alleges he again was detained starting in
October 2016 and is presently confined. During this detention he
alleges he “began to experience an acute loss of vision
bilaterally in my eyes.” Id. He further states he was treated by
the jails sick call who believed his change of vision, loss of
vision and serious migraines were related to some environmental
factor in the jail. Id.
Plaintiff seeks for the Court to “rectify this situation as
soon as possible and to resolve peacefully monetary values
concerning my life and health.” Complaint ¶ 7.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal
Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996)
(“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints in those civil
actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental
employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim
with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The
PLRA directs district courts to 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,
1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e because Plaintiff is a prisoner
proceeding in forma pauperis and is seeking redress from
government officials about the conditions of his confinement.
According to the Supreme Court’s decision in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions’ or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will
not do.’” 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). 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). Moreover, while pro se
pleadings are liberally construed, they “still must allege
sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim.” Mala
v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013)
B. Section 1983 Actions
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights.
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
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 ....
28 U.S.C. § 1983. 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. See West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d
Cir. 2011); Piecknick v. Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250, 1255-56 (3d
Plaintiff alleges he experienced unconstitutional
conditions of confinement during three separate detentions at
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (a)
dismiss the Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a
claim as to contentions of allegedly unconstitutional conditions
of confinement, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii) regarding
plaintiff’s detentions occurring from 2005 to 2006 and 2009 to
2010; and (b) allow the Complaint to proceed as to the allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement claims against former
Warden Eric Taylor, former Deputy Warden Frank Loberto, Warden
David Owens and Warden Kate Taylor.
A. Conditions of Pretrial Confinement- 2005-2006 Detention
and 2009-2010 Detention
Plaintiff’s complaint alleges that he experienced
unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was detained
in the CCCF from 2005 to 2006 as well as from 2009 to 2010.
These claims must be dismissed with prejudice.
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 and unsanitary conditions,
would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time of
his detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for
Plaintiff’s claims expired in 2012 at the latest, well before
this complaint was filed in 2017. Plaintiff has filed his
lawsuit too late with respect to those two detentions. 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 regarding the claims for
detentions that occurred in 2005 to 2006 and 2009 to 2010.
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).
B. Conditions of Pretrial Confinement- 2016 to present
Plaintiff alleges he experienced unconstitutional
conditions of confinement at CCCF upon being detained at the
facility starting in October 2016. With respect to this claim,
Plaintiff has alleged that he has experienced loss of vision and
serious migraines due to an environmental factor in the
facility. This claim will be proceed in part.
This claim must be dismissed with prejudice in regards to
CCCF because it is not a “state actor” within the meaning of §
1983. 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)); Grabow v. Southern State Corr. Facility, 726 F.
Supp. 537, 538–39 (D.N.J. 1989) (correctional facility is not a
“person” under § 1983). Further, this claim also must be
dismissed without prejudice as to Camden County Clerk Joseph
Ripa as Plaintiff has not pled any facts to impose liability on
Construing the complaint liberally and giving Plaintiff the
benefit of all reasonable inferences, he has sufficiently stated
a claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement against
CCCF former Warden Eric Taylor, former Deputy Warden Frank
Loberto, Warden David Owens and Warden Kate Taylor.
Specifically, he alleges that an environmental factor in the
jail has caused him to suffer injury including loss of vision
and serious migraines upon his admittance to the facility in
October 2016 to present. He has requested the Court to “recitfy
this situation as soon as possible.” Complaint ¶ 7. Considering
the totality of the circumstances alleged by Plaintiff, the
Court finds that he has sufficiently pled that he experienced
unconstitutionally punitive conditions at CCCF. The claim shall
therefore be permitted to proceed against the wardens in their
For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed in
part as discussed above. The complaint shall proceed on the
conditions of confinement claim from Plaintiff’s 2016
confinement against CCCF former Warden Eric Taylor, former
Deputy Warden Frank Loberto, Warden David Owens and Warden Kate
Taylor. The remainder of the claims are dismissed without
An appropriate order follows.
September 6, 2017
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
U.S. District Judge
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