United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MICHAEL L. SAUNDERS, Plaintiff,
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; WARDEN DAVID OWENS; FREEHOLDERS, Defendants.
Michael L. Saunders, Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
L. Saunders seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), David Owens, and
Freeholders. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
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).
alleges he was detained in the CCCF during 2005, 2009, and
2012, “each time for several months before being
transferred to state prison.” Complaint § III. He
further states: “Each times of my incarceration slept
on the floor in a room with 3 other inmates. These inmates
repeatedly step over top of me to use the toilet during the
night.” Id. He further alleges that the units
were so crowded, he often had to stand to eat meals.
Id. He further alleges that the shower area was
dirty, law library time was limited, and the kitchen was
infested with mice. He further alleges that staph infections
and boils were common. Id.
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 he experienced unconstitutional
conditions of confinement while he was detained in the CCCF
in 2005, 2009 and 2012. 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 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 2014 at the latest, well before this
complaint was filed in 2016. 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).
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,
2009, and 2012. Ostuni v. Wa Wa's Mart, 532
F.App'x 110, 112 (3d Cir. 2013) (per ...