United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. Wolfson, United States District Judge.
matter has been opened to the Court by Plaintiff's filing
of a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Mercer County Correctional Center and Camden County Jail
arising from incidents that occurred during his incarceration
from 2004-2007. The Court previously granted Plaintiff's
application to proceed in forma pauperis. Federal
law requires this Court to screen Plaintiff's Complaint
for sua sponte dismissal prior to service, and to
dismiss any claim if that claim fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
and/or to dismiss any defendant who is immune from suit.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). For the reasons
explained below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint in its
entirety pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B) and will permit
Plaintiff to submit an Amended Complaint within 30 days of
the date of Order accompanying this Opinion.
Complaint is dated November 17, 2016. (ECF No. 1, Complaint
at 5.) Plaintiff has sued Mercer County Correctional Center
and Camden County Jail and alleges the following facts in
support of his claims:
I was falsely imprisoned and also beat the charges that were
brought against me[.] Cops in Camden County set me up and for
that I sustained life long issues.
Guards violated my rights by only giving me a blanket to
(ECF No. 1, Complaint at 3.) In the “Injuries”
section of his Complaint, Plaintiff also appears to allege a
“lack of healthcare” in connection with a
“lung problem.” (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff
states in his complaint that these incidents occurred during
the period of October 2004-November 2007. (Id. at
2.) Plaintiff seeks damages for his injuries. (Id.
Court liberally construes Plaintiff to allege violations of
his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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 the
United States or other person within the 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....
Plaintiff has sued only Mercer County Correctional Center and
Camden County Jail. Although a county may be liable under
§ 1983, a county jail is not a proper defendant under
§ 1983. See Barrett v. Essex Cty. Corr.
Facility, No. CIV.A. 15-595 SDW, 2015 WL 1808523, at *3
(D.N.J. Apr. 16, 2015) (“A county jail, such as the
Essex County facility, is not a person subject to suit under
§ 1983.”); Ingram v. Atl. Cty. Justice
Fac., Civ. No. 10-1375, 2011 WL 65915, *3 (D.N.J. Jan.
7, 2011) (citations omitted) (county jail is not a person
under section 1983). As such, the Court will dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice as to Mercer County
Correctional Center and Camden County Jail, as these entities
are not proper Defendants in a § 1983
even if Plaintiff had named as Defendants the officials who
allegedly falsely imprisoned him, set him up, and/or
subjected him to unlawful conditions of confinement, it
appears from the face of the Complaint that some or all of
his § 1983 claims are untimely. It is well established that
there is no independent statute of limitations for bringing a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in federal court. Instead,
“the [forum] state's statute of limitations for
personal injury” applies to claims filed under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Sameric Corp. of Delaware, Inc. v.
City of Philadelphia, 142 F.3d 582, 599 (3d Cir. 1988).
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a civil rights
claim under § 1983 is two years. Disque v. New
Jersey State Police, 603 F.3d 181, 189 (3d Cir. 2009).
limitations period begins to run on the accrual date. For
federal claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the
accrual date of the claim is determined in accordance with
federal law. Disabled in Action of Pa. v. Se. Pa. Trans.
Auth., 539 F.3d 199, 209 (3d Cir. 2008). Generally, a
claim accrues when the facts which support the claim
reasonably should have become known to the plaintiff.
Sameric, 142 F.3d at 599 (citing De Botton v.
Marple Twp., 689 F.Supp. 477, 480 (E.D. Pa. 1988));
see also Large v. County of Montgomery, 307
Fed.Appx. 606, 606 (3d Cir. 2009). Thus, “a claim
accrues as soon as a potential plaintiff either is aware, or
should be aware after a sufficient degree of diligence, of
the existence and source of an actual injury. Podobnik v.
U.S. Postal Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 590 (3d Cir. 2005)
(citing Keystone Insurance Co. v. Houghton, 863 F.2d
1125, 1127 (3d Cir.1988)); see also Large v. County of
Montgomery, 307 F.App'x. 606, 606 (3d Cir. 2009).
Put another way, “a cause of action accrues when the
fact of injury and its connection to the defendant would be
recognized by a reasonable person.” Kriss v.
Fayette Cty., 827 F.Supp.2d 477, 484 (W.D. Pa. 2011)
aff'd, 504 Fed.Appx. 182 (3d Cir. 2012); see
also Giles v. City of Philadelphia, 542 Fed.Appx. 121,
123 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Sandutch v. Muroski, 684
F.2d 252, 254 (3d Cir.1982) (per curiam) (federal
cause of action accrues when the plaintiff is aware, or
should be aware, of the existence of and source of the
injury, not when the potential claimant knows or should know
that the injury constitutes a legal wrong)).
limitations period for Petitioner's conditions of
confinement claims began to run at the time he was injured,
i.e., between 2004 and 2007, and appear time barred.
See McCargo v. Camden Cty. Jail, No. 17-1387, 2017
WL 2226573, at *2 (3d Cir. May 22, 2017) (finding that
Plaintiff's claims “accrued as he endured the
circumstances while confined” and noting that Plaintiff
“waited well more than a decade to file his lawsuit.)
well-established that the limitations period for a false
arrest/imprisonment claim begins to run when the arrestee is
arraigned. See Alexander v. Fletcher, 367
F.App'x 289, 290 n. 2 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Wallace
v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 389-90 (2007); see also
Pittman v. Metuchen Police Dep't, 441 Fed.Appx. 826,
828 (3d Cir. 2011) (“A claim for false imprisonment
accrues when an arrestee appears before a magistrate and is
bound over for trial, because, after that, he is being held
pursuant to legal process.”) (citing Wallace,
549 U.S. at 389-90). Based on the dates provided in
Plaintiff's Complaint, his false imprisonment claim also
appear time barred, as Plaintiff was arrested between 2004
not clear whether Plaintiff is also attempting to allege a
claim for malicious prosecution against the officers who
allegedly “set [him] up.” Unlike false arrest and
false imprisonment, the statute of limitations for a
malicious prosecution claim under § 1983 accrues on the
day that the criminal proceedings against a plaintiff are
terminated in his or her favor. Torres v.
McLaughlin, 163 F.3d 169, 177 (3d Cir. 1998); see
also Kossler v. Crisanti, 564 F.3d 181, 186-87 (3d Cir.
2009). To plead a claim for malicious prosecution, a
plaintiff must show that (1) the defendants initiated a
criminal proceeding; (2) the criminal proceeding ended in
plaintiff's favor; (3) the proceeding was initiated
without probable cause; (4) the defendants acted maliciously
or for a purpose other than bringing the plaintiff to
justice; and (5) the plaintiff suffered deprivation of
liberty consistent with the concept of seizure as a
consequence of a legal proceeding. Kossler, 564 F.3d
at 186 (quotation marks omitted); see also Malcomb v.
McKean, 535 Fed.Appx. 184, 186 (3d Cir. 2013). Here,
Plaintiff has alleged in a cursory fashion that he was
“set up” by Camden County police and
“beat” the alleged charges. Plaintiff has not
named as Defendants (by name or as John Does) the police
officers who allegedly set him up or provided sufficient
facts to suggest that these police officers initiated
criminal proceedings against him without probable cause.
Furthermore, he has not provided sufficient facts for the
Court to assess whether the dismissal of the charges against
him constitutes a favorable termination. If Plaintiff
submits an Amended Complaint that alleges a claim for
malicious prosecution, he shall provide these facts and also
provide the date on which the criminal proceedings allegedly
terminated in his favor.
the Court notes that the statute of limitations may be
equitably tolled, and state law generally governs whether a
limitations period should be tolled. See Dique, 603 F.3d at
185. Tolling is extraordinary relief that is appropriate only
“in three general scenarios (1) where a defendant
actively misleads a plaintiff with respect to his or her
cause of action; (2) where the plaintiff has been prevented
from asserting his or her claim as a result of other
extraordinary circumstances; or (3) where the plaintiff
asserts his or her claims in a timely manner but has done so
in the wrong forum.” Lake v. Arnold, 232 F.3d 360, 370,
n.9 (3d Cir. 2000). To the extent Plaintiff can cure the
deficiencies in his ...