United States District Court, D. New Jersey
THOMAS L. WHITEHEAD, Plaintiff,
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Defendant.
L. Whitehead, Plaintiff Pro Se.
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE, District Judge.
Thomas L. Whitehead seeks to bring a civil rights Complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
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. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
Complaint alleges that Plaintiff “slept on the floor
multiple times between 2007 - 2011 due to
overcrowd[ing].” Complaint §§ III(B)-(C).
Plaintiff claims to have sustained back and hip injuries from
these events. Id. § IV. Plaintiff seeks
“the maximum amount of damages they are giving
out.” Id. § V.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
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
Complaint alleges that Plaintiff experienced unconstitutional
conditions of confinement while incarcerated from “2007
- 2011.” Complaint § III(B). 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)).
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement, namely
the purported overcrowding and sleeping conditions in cells,
would have been immediately apparent to Plaintiff at the time
of detention; therefore, the statute of limitations for
Plaintiff's claims expired in 2013 at the latest, well
before this Complaint was filed in 2016. Plaintiff has filed
this 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 Plaintiff's cause of action, there are
no extraordinary circumstances that prevented Plaintiff from
filing the claim, and there is nothing to indicate Plaintiff
filed the claim on time but in the wrong forum. See Omar
v. Blackman, 590 F. App'x 162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014).
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 Plaintiff may
not file an amended complaint concerning the events of
“2007 -2011.” Complaint § III(B). Ostuni
v. Wa Wa's Mart, 532 F. App'x 110, 112 (3d Cir.