Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

N.A.M.I. v. ESSEX COUNTY BD. OF FREEHOLDERS

April 11, 2000

N.A.M.I. (NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MENTALLY ILL OF ESSEX), ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
V.
ESSEX COUNTY BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hochberg, District Judge.

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court upon motions by defendants Essex County Board of Freeholders, Essex County Improvement Authority and the New Jersey State Department of Human Services to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint in its entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6). This Court has reviewed the submissions of the parties without oral argument pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78, and for the reasons stated below, the motions to dismiss will be granted.*fn1

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Plaintiffs are members of the National Alliance of Mentally Ill of Essex, (hereinafter "NAMI"), an organization whose principal activities are vigorous advocacy for the rights of the mentally ill and for improved mental health services for the mentally ill; Ashley Goodman, citizen of Essex County and parent of a patient at the Essex County Hospital Center; John Gaykowski, a citizen of Essex County; and Arthur Siebelist, a taxpayer and resident of Essex County and NAMI's past president. (Complt. ¶ 1.) Defendants are the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Essex County Executive, James Treffinger, Essex County Improvement Authority, and the New Jersey State Department of Human Services.

Essex County Hospital Center (hereinafter "ECHC") houses 350 patients; 250 are long term patients who are wards of the County of Essex. (Complt. ¶ 5, 7.) For the last 100 years, ECHC has been located on 60-80 acres of land in suburban Essex County, which is part of 600 acres of Essex County know as "Hilltop." (Complt. ¶ 5, 7.) These surroundings provide ECHC's patients with substantial recreational space. (Complt. ¶ 17).

On April 14, 1999, the Board of Freeholders of Essex County adopted a resolution stating that the County of Essex had determined that ECHC is "physically deficient, lacking in modern conveniences and in need of significant major repairs and renovations in order to bring it up to date." (Pl. Opp. Br. Ex. 1 at 1.) The County determined that the most efficient and financially sound option is to relocate ECHC to an existing facility and identified the former United Hospital campus as a suitable and desirable location for ECHC. (Pl. Opp. Br. Ex. 1 at 1.) The resolution approved a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the County and New United Corp. for the purchase of a portion of the former United Hospital campus and authorized the County Executive to negotiate and enter into an agreement for the purchase of the land and to procure professional services to plan and design renovations, alterations and construction. (Pl. Opp. Br. Ex. 1 at 2.)

Plaintiffs assert violations of the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986 (hereinafter "PAMII"), 42 U.S.C. § 9501, 10801, and 10841, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, New Jersey statutory and common law and the New Jersey Constitution. They contend that the proposed purchase of the United Hospital property and the proposed move of the ECHC patients to the new facility is a per se violation of the patients' rights because: (1) the recreational space is insufficient (complt. ¶ 15); (2) there may be electronic surveillance of the new facility (complt. ¶ 15); (3) patients may be subject to monitoring in the form of ankle bracelets (complt. ¶ 15); (4) a 12 to 15 foot fence may be erected around the new facility (complt. ¶ 15); and (5) the urban setting of the new facility threatens the safety of the ECHC patients (complt. ¶ 17, 18).

The defendants have moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed. R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) because: (1) plaintiffs lack statutory standing; (2) plaintiffs lack Article III standing; and (3) the case is not ripe for adjudication. Defendants also move to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a court may consider only the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and undisputedly authentic documents if the plaintiff's claims are based upon those documents. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Industries, 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1042, 114 S.Ct. 687, 126 L.Ed.2d 655 (1994). Motions to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action result in a determination on the merits at an early stage of plaintiff's case. Mortensen v. First Federal Savings and Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). As a result, "plaintiff is afforded the safeguard of having all its allegations taken as true and all inferences favorable to plaintiff will be drawn." Id. In order to grant a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must find that plaintiffs will be unable to prevail even if they prove all of the allegations in the complaint, basing its decision solely on the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Id.

In evaluating a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the Court must first determine whether defendant's motion attacks the complaint as deficient on its face, or whether defendant's motion attacks the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact. Mortensen, 549 F.2d at 891. Where defendant's 12(b)(1) motion facially attacks the complaint, the Court must take all allegations in the complaint as true. Id. Where however, defendant attacks the Court's subject matter jurisdiction in fact, no presumptive truthfulness attaches to plaintiff's allegations and the Court may weigh the evidence to satisfy itself that subject matter jurisdiction exists in fact. Id. at 891. Plaintiff bears the burden of proof that subject matter jurisdiction does in fact exist. Id.

Here, the defendants challenge the complaint on its face. As such, the allegations of plaintiffs' complaint are taken as true in this ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.