United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ESTATE OF DAVID B. CONROY, BY AND THROUGH ITS ADMINISTRATOR AD PROSEQUENDUM, JENNEY FERGUSON, Plaintiff,
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, et al. Defendants.
McCann, Esq., CHANCE & MCCANN, LLP, Attorneys for
Defendants Cumberland County and Warden Richard T. Smith.
J. Benedetto, Esq. LAW OFFICES OF CONRAD J. BENEDETTO,
Attorneys for Plaintiffs.
B. KUGLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter arises out of the unfortunate suicide of David Conroy
while he was detained at the Cumberland County Jail. His
sister and administrator of his estate, Jenney Ferguson,
filed this lawsuit against defendants Cumberland County,
Cumberland County Jail warden Richard Smith, former
Cumberland County Jail warden Robert Balicki,  CFG Health
Systems, and John Doe defendants for violations of Mr.
Conroy's constitutional rights, negligence, and
violations of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J. Stat.
Ann. § 10:6-1 et seq. (“NJCRA”).
Cumberland County and Warden Richard Smith now move for
partial summary judgment on Plaintiffs' state tort
claims. [Docket Entry 95]. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.
[Docket Entry 98]. The principal issue to be decided is
whether the state tort claims for wrongful death and
negligence must be dismissed due to Plaintiffs' failure
to file a notice of tort claim or whether an exception to the
New Jersey Tort Claims Act (“TCA”), N.J.S.A.
§ 59:1-1 et seq., applies. For the reasons stated
herein, the Court finds that that Plaintiffs have not
substantially complied with the TCA. The summary judgment
motion is therefore granted.
filed their complaint raising claims under state and federal
law on September 19, 2017. [Docket Entry 1]. Former Warden
Balicki filed a motion to dismiss on September 28, 2017.
[Docket Entry 5]. On February 20, 2018, CFG Health filed a
motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff's medical
malpractice/professional negligence claims against CFG
Health. [Docket Entry 25].
Court granted Balicki's motion to dismiss on May 31,
2018. [Docket Entry 43]. Plaintiff was permitted to file an
amended complaint with their claims against Balicki, but they
declined to do so even after the Court granted an extension
of time to file the amended complaint. [Docket Entry 50]. As
such, Balicki is now dismissed with prejudice from the case.
motion for summary judgment was denied in September 2018.
[Docket Entry 63]. The Court also denied CFG Health's
motion for reconsideration. [Docket Entry 90]. While CFG
Health's motion was pending, Cumberland County and Warden
Smith filed a motion for partial summary judgment on
Plaintiffs' state tort claims. [Docket Entry 60]. The
Court dismissed the motion without prejudice based on a
failure to comply with Rule 56.1. [Docket Entry 93].
Defendants subsequently refiled the instant motion. [Docket
Entry 95]. Plaintiffs submitted their opposition, [Docket
Entry 98], and Defendants declined to file reply papers.
matter is now ripe for disposition without oral argument.
Allegations in Pleadings
to the complaint, Mr. Conroy died by suicide on May 29, 2017
after being detained in the Cumberland County Jail. [Docket
Entry 1 ¶ 19]. Plaintiffs allege unidentified
corrections officers and representatives of CFG Health failed
to properly screen Mr. Conroy “for any suicidal
tendencies or any other psychological and/or emotional
problems” and did not properly monitor him while he was
confined in the jail. [Id. ¶¶ 16-20]. The
complaint further alleges Warden Smith “was aware of,
should have been aware of, and/or had actual knowledge of the
pattern and culture of unconstitutional behavior and
indifference on the part of the Corrections Officers and
Command Staff under his control and supervision at the
Cumberland County Jail” which included “the
failure to properly screen inmates for suicidal tendencies,
and/or other psychological or emotional problems, failure to
adequately monitor and watch inmates, and failure to protect
inmates from injury, harm, or death.” [Id.