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Brown v. Union County Jail

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 29, 2018

UNION COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.



         Currently before this Court is the motion of Defendant Shakir seeking the dismissal of Plaintiffs most recent Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 52). Plaintiff did not file a response to the motion. For the following reasons, the motion will be GRANTED and Plaintiffs claims against Shakir will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as time barred.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Alphonso Brown, Jr., who is also known as Tyrone Fitzgerald, was a state prisoner incarcerated at the Central Reception and Assignment Facility ("CRAF") in Trenton, New Jersey, in August 2012. (ECF No. 27 at 5-6). Following an incident which occurred before Petitioner was placed into CRAF in late July 2012, Plaintiff suffered numerous injuries which led to his seeking medical attention while in prison. (Id.). That treatment included several consultations with Dr. Ahmar Shakir, an orthopedic surgeon. (Id. at 17).

         Plaintiff first saw Dr. Shakir in September 2012, at which point Dr. Shakir injected one of Plaintiffs hands with a corticosteroid. (Id. at 17-18). According to the Complaint, although Shakir treated one of Plaintiff s hands at that time, Plaintiffs remaining injuries went untreated as Shakir told Plaintiff he would deal with them "one by one over a period of time." (Id. at 18). Shakir did, however, order a set of splints for Plaintiffs hands, but Plaintiff never received them as he later learned that the splints ordered by Shakir were not approved by the prison for safety reasons. (Id.). Plaintiffs hands, which had been fractured, thereafter healed in a deformed manner. (Id. at 19). Plaintiff further alleges that his injuries later led to his suffering a stroke, but it is unclear if Dr. Shakir treated Plaintiff as to any of the issues which caused this stroke. (Id. at 18).

         According to Plaintiffs current Complaint and the documents he attached thereto, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Shakir again on February 14, 2013, at which point he received two more corticosteroid injections - one in each hand - which apparently turned his hands "white like leprosy." (Id. at 18, 24). Plaintiff does not allege that he was seen by Dr. Shakir after February 2013, instead he states that the only treatments he received from Shakir were the three total injections into his hands during these two visits and the ordering of a splint he never received. (Id. at 19). Plaintiffs claims against Dr. Shakir thus concern events which occurred, at the latest, on February 14, 2013. (Id. at 17-19, 24).

         This Court summarized the procedural history of this matter as follows in deciding a previous motion to dismiss:

On or about June 19, 2014, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint in this matter, which contained a nascent version of this claim against Lamb, albeit in a vague and conclusory form. (See ECF Nos. 1-2). Following screening of Plaintiffs complaint, this Court permitted to proceed only on his claims against another Defendant, Dr. Shakir. (See ECF No. 12). All of Plaintiff s other claims were dismissed following screening, including the claim against Lamb.[] (Id.). Although provided with the opportunity to serve his complaint through the U.S. Marshal's Office, Plaintiff failed to serve the remaining Defendants in a timely fashion, and this Court entered a call for dismissal for failure to serve the complaint pursuant to Rule 4(m) on September 15, 2015. (ECF No. 17). Because Plaintiff failed to respond within the time set by the call for dismissal, [1] his complaint was dismissed without prejudice in its entirety on October 27, 2015. (ECF No. 19).
On or about April 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed with the Court a certification in which he requested that his dismissed complaint be reopened and that he be permitted to proceed against Defendants Shakir and Lamb. (ECF No. 21). On April 19, 2016, this Court entered an order which informed Plaintiff that his complaint had been dismissed without prejudice in October 2015, and that if he wished to pursue claims against Defendants, he could only do so by filing a new complaint against them. (ECF No. 22). Although the Court permitted Plaintiff to file a new complaint by June 2, 2016, the Court noted that it had previously dismissed Plaintiffs claims against Lamb and Shakir without prejudice in a non-conditional fashion, and that, as such, the filing of the original complaint did not arrest the running of the statute of limitations applicable to Plaintiffs claims and that Plaintiffs claims may be time barred should he file a new complaint. (Id. at 3 n. 3). Plaintiff thereafter filed his current complaint against Lamb and Shakir on or about June 1, 2016. (ECF No. 27).

         (ECF No. 49 at 2-3).


         A. Legal Standard

         In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a district court is "required to accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all inferences in the facts alleged in the light most favorable to the [Plaintiff]." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008). "[A] complaint attacked by a... motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the Plaintiffs "obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). A court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Papasan, 478 U.S. at 286. Instead, assuming the factual allegations in the complaint are true, those "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face."' Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for misconduct alleged." Id. "Determining whether the allegations in a complaint are plausible is a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'--'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are liberally construed, ...

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