United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Thurston Sanders  Plaintiff Pro se.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Thurston Sanders, formerly incarcerated at Federal
Correctional Institution (“FCI”) Ft. Dix, in Ft.
Dix, New Jersey, seeks to bring a civil rights complaint
against the United States and other unidentified staff
members employed at FCI - Ft. Dix for injuries he suffered as
a result of falling from the top bunk bed. Plaintiff fails to
identify the legal basis for his Complaint. Because Plaintiff
is complaining about an injury he received while in federal
custody, the Court will construe the Complaint as arising
under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Federal Tort Claims
time, the Court must review the Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A 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, the Court will
dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state
a claim. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii) and
signed his Complaint on April 22, 2017, which was docketed on
May 15, 2017. ECF No. 1. In it, Plaintiff alleges that he had
requested a lower bunk for medical reasons for two months
when, on March 30, 2015, he fell from the upper bunk during
his sleep onto the concrete floor below. Id., Compl.
at 3. He sustained significant injuries from the fall,
including a coma for an unspecified period of time, and had
to undergo reconstructive surgeries. Id. After his
fall, Plaintiff was transported to the Capital Health
Regional Medical Center and Hospital for further treatment.
Id. Plaintiff states that his treating doctors have
advised him that he may have medical issues that remain with
him for the rest of his life and that he may need further
treatment and therapy. Id. at 4.
1915(e)(2) and 1915A 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) and 1915A because Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. See ECF No. 3
(granting in forma pauperis application).
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. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.
2009). “‘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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
the factual allegations contained in the Complaint as true,
it appears that Plaintiff's claims are time barred. As
such, Plaintiff fails to state any claim upon which relief
may be granted, and the Complaint must be dismissed. The
Court, however, will grant leave to amend limited to the
statute of limitations issue.
statute of limitations for a Bivens action is
governed by the pertinent state's limitations period for
personal injury claims. Peguero v. Meyer, 520 F.
App'x 58, 60 (3d Cir. 2013) (“A Bivens
claim, like a claim pursuant to § 1983, is characterized
as a personal-injury claim and thus is governed by the
applicable state's statute of limitations for
the claims are alleged to have occurred in New Jersey (FCI
Ft. Dix), and between the time period of January 20, 2015
(when Plaintiff requested a lower bunk accommodation) through
March 30, 2015 (when Plaintiff sustained injuries from his
fall). On their face, without more, Plaintiff's claims
appear to be time barred under New Jersey's two-year
limitations period for personal injury claims, because he did
not file the instant action until April 22,
2017. See N.J. Stat. Ann. §
extent that Plaintiff wishes to bring his complaint pursuant
to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28
U.S.C. § 1346(b), such a claim would also be
time-barred. The FTCA provides a two-year statute of
limitations for presenting any claim to the appropriate
federal agency. See 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b). The
FTCA also requires a claimant to file suit within six months
from the agency's action on the claim. 28 U.S.C. §
2675(a). Here, the Complaint lacks allegations that the
Plaintiff presented a timely claim under the FTCA to the
Bureau of Prisons during the requisite two-year limitations
period or that Plaintiff brought this action ...