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Smith v. Camden County Correctional Facility

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 13, 2017

CARLOS SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, DAVID OWENS, CAMDEN COUNTY BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS, MAYOR DANA REDD and WARDEN JAMES TAYLOR, Defendants.

          Carlos Smith, Plaintiff Pro Se 532 Freson Drive Magnolia, N.J. 08049

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Carlos Smith sought to bring a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint dated October 4, 2016, Docket Entry 1. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint dated November 29, 2016 (Docket Entry 3), seeking to bring civil rights claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), David Owens, Camden County Board of Freeholders, Mayor Dana Redd and Warden James Taylor for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

         At this time, the Court must review Plaintiff's complaint filings, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), to determine whether they should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because they seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below: (1) it is clear from the Complaint that the claims therein arose more than two years before it was filed; and (2) it is clear from the proposed Amended Complaint that the claims therein arose more than two years before it was filed. The claims in both the Complaint and the Amended Complaint are 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 and the Amended Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).

         II. BACKGROUND

         The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff “was detain[ed] in [CCJ] [in] Aug. 2008[.] [T]here were 4 in my cell. We couldn't move around.” Complaint §§ III(B)-(C). Plaintiff claims to have suffered back pain in connection with these events. Id. § IV. Plaintiff sought $1, 700 in relief “for my pain and suffer[ing].” Id. § V.

         The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff “was placed in a cell with 3 other people and placed on the floor [in] 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 [and] 2008.” Amended Complaint §§ III(B)-(C). Plaintiff does not identify or otherwise describe any injuries. Id. § IV (blank). Plaintiff “want[s] to be compensated for mental anguish, mental stress and for violating my civil rights. I would like the amount of $1.3 million.” Id. § V.

         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) (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)).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff experienced unconstitutional conditions of confinement while incarcerated in “Aug. 2008.” Complaint § III(B) (Docket Entry 1). The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff experienced unconstitutional conditions of confinement while incarcerated in “1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 [and] 2008.” Amended Complaint § III(B) (Docket Entry 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. 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.'” Montanezv ...


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