The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:
Plaintiff Charles E. Smith, Jr., a Pennsylvania inmate presently housed at the Muskegon Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Michigan, initiated the above action pro se by filing a Complaint under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.)
This action previously was dismissed by Order dated November 19, 2010 as a result of Plaintiff's failure to timely submit a filing fee or the forms required to proceed in forma pauperis in a civil rights action in this Court. However, after Smith submitted the proper forms to proceed in forma pauperis, by Order dated December 7, 2010, this case was re-opened, and Plaintiff was granted in forma pauperis status. (Doc. 11.)
We also conducted a preliminary screening of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. In our December 7 Order, we explained that Plaintiff would be required to file an amended complaint, and afforded him an opportunity to do so on or before December 28, 2010. (See Doc. 11.)
On December 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Motion requesting a ninety (90) day extension of time to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 13.) Plaintiff explained that an extension of time was needed to gather the necessary materials to prepare his amended complaint in light of his recent transfer to Muskegon Correctional Facility, and also to secure legal assistance. (Id.) We found that, while Plaintiff had shown good cause to warrant an extension of time, a ninety (90) day extension was not warranted. Therefore, by Order dated January 3, 2011, we granted Plaintiff a forty-five (45) day extension, or until February 17, 2011, to file his amended complaint. (Doc. 14.) Our Order also warned Plaintiff that his failure to file an amended complaint as directed within the required time may result in the dismissal of this action.
The deadline for Plaintiff to submit his amended complaint expired, and therefore, by Memorandum and Order dated February 24, 2011, we dismissed this action. (Docs. 15, 16.)
On March 1, 2011, an Amended Complaint was received by the Clerk of Court and entered on the docket. (Doc. 17.) Presently before the Court is Smith's Motion to Reopen this case. (Doc. 20.) In his Motion, Smith states that he provided his Amended Complaint to prison authorities for mailing on February 15, 2011, and therefore, pursuant to the prisoner mailbox rule, we should deem his Amended Complaint to have been timely filed. (See id.) Indeed, in the certificate of service attached to Smith's Amended Complaint, Smith certifies that he provided his Amended Complaint to staff at the Muskegon Correctional Facility for mailing to this Court on February 14, 2011. (See Doc. 17 at 9.) Accordingly, pursuant to the prisoner mailbox rule, we deem the amended complaint to be timely filed, see Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 275-76 (1988), and thus we shall grant Smith's Motion to Reopen this case.
However, upon screening the Amended Complaint under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, for the reasons set forth below, we find that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and therefore, the Amended Complaint will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
A. Statute of Limitations
In his Amended Complaint, Smith names various employees of the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill ("SCI Camp Hill") in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
He first makes a series of allegations regarding events that occurred from February 2007 through September 2008 relating to property that he lost upon his transfer to SCI Camp Hill from the State Correctional Institution Greene ("SCI Greene") in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, grievances he filed, and misconducts he received. (See Doc. 17 ¶¶ 12-21.)
It is well-settled that claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are subject to the state statute of limitations for personal injury actions. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 266-67 (1985). In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a personal injury action is two years. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5524. A cause of action accrues for statute of limitations purposes when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury that constitutes the basis of the cause of action. Sameric Corp. of Delaware, Inc. v. City of Philadelphia, 142 F.3d 582, 599 (3d Cir. 1998); see also Nelson v. County of Allegheny, 60 F.3d 1010 (3d Cir. 1995). Smith commenced this action on October 4, 2010, and thus any claims stemming from events that occurred prior to October 4, 2008 are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Although the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense, sua sponte dismissal is appropriate when the defense is apparent from the face of the complaint. See Fogle v. Pierson, 435 F.3d 1252, 1258 (10th Cir. ...