United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Coppoletta, Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Tammy Coppoletta seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Jail (“CCJ”). Complaint, Docket
Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints
prior to service 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
the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the
complaint with prejudice for claims arising from her 2013
detention and dismiss the complaint without prejudice for
failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
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). “[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)).
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
for alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional
rights. In order to set forth a prima facie case
under § 1983, a plaintiff must show: “(1) a person
deprived him of a federal right; and (2) the person who
deprived him of that right acted under color of state or
territorial law.” Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan,
47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980)).
Generally, for purposes of actions under § 1983,
“[t]he term ‘persons' includes local and
state officers acting under color of state law.”
Carver v. Foerster, 102 F.3d 96, 99 (3d Cir. 1996)
(citing Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21
(1991)). To say that a person was “acting
under color of state law” means that the defendant in a
§ 1983 action “exercised power [that the
defendant] possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer [was] clothed with the authority
of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49
(1988) (citation omitted). Generally, then, “a public
employee acts under color of state law while acting in his
official capacity or while exercising his responsibilities
pursuant to state law.” Id. at 50.
Because Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged that a person
deprived him of a federal right, the complaint does not meet
the standards necessary to set forth a prima facie
case under § 1983.
Plaintiff states she was detained in the CCJ from October 12
to October 13, 2013 as well as from November 12 to December
1, 2014. Complaint § III(B).
to the detention in October 2013, these claims are barred by
the statute of limitations and must be dismissed with
prejudice, meaning that Plaintiff cannot recover for those
claims because they have been brought too late. 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. N.J.
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).
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at CCJ,
namely the overcrowding, would have been immediately apparent
to Plaintiff at the time of her detention; therefore, the
statute of limitations for Plaintiff's claims arising
from her incarceration of October 12 to October 13, 2013
expired before this complaint was filed in 2016. Plaintiff
therefore cannot recover for these claims.
to Plaintiff's detention of November 12 to December 1,
2014, Plaintiff alleges she was detained in an overcrowded
cell and had to sleep on the floor near the toilet. Complaint
§ III(C). She further alleges there was a time when a
“C.O. yell wake up bitches, it chow time at
3:50am.” She also alleges she was stripped searched
when she left the jail to attend a court appearance. She
further alleges, “When I was released I had a male CO
escort me past men in the cafeteria and he told me that if I
went to move to my left he would put me in a body cast for
trying to talk to the men when I was carrying my mat and
blank and going home.” Id.
Even accepting these statements as true for screening
purposes only, there is not enough factual support for the
Court to ...