Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Dorsett v. New Jersey State Police

February 15, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini Judge



Dear Litigants:

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Second Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. There was no oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. R. 78. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.


This civil rights action arises from an alleged racially-profiled traffic stop of the plaintiff, Rohan Dorsett. On February 15, 1998, Plaintiff, "a dark-skinned man, native of the nation of Dominica," was driving in a car on the Garden State Parkway along with two passengers, also "dark-skinned males." (Pl.'s Compl. 3.) At approximately 5:30pm, Plaintiff was stopped by defendant Dreher for driving in an "erratic manner." (Id.) Plaintiff was arrested and convicted of illegal possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. (Id. at 4.) Defendants Wagner and Silianessis aided in the arrest of Plaintiff. (Id. at 3). On November 30, 1998, Plaintiff was sentenced to five years imprisonment and $2,205 in fines. (Id.) Plaintiff was paroled from prison in March 2003, held for deportation by the INS, and deported to Dominica in late October or early November 2003. (Id.)

On April 24, 2003, Judge Lorraine Pullen vacated Plaintiff's conviction and dismissed Plaintiff's indictment upon the State's motion that a " 'colorable basis' exists to support an allegation of selective enforcement." (Id. at 4-5; Aff. of Wendy Reek ("Reek Affidavit"), Exhibit 2.) The State's Affidavit in support of its motion to vacate and dismiss Plaintiff's conviction stated "one could argue and a conclusion could be drawn by the Court that colorable issues of racial profiling are present," and therefore, it sought relief in the interests of justice for Plaintiff and other criminal defendants "[r]ather than litigating the issues of selective enforcement, whether generally or specifically." (Reek Affidavit, Exhibit 2.)

On November 16, 2004, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the District of New Jersey alleging violations of his civil rights (pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1988, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments) and his rights under state law*fn1 resulting from his racially-profiled traffic stop. (Pl.'s Compl. 1.) Defendants are alleged to have participated and engaged in a pattern and practice of racially-motivated selective enforcement of traffic regulations in New Jersey. (Id. at 5-6.) Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.*fn2

Several stays were issued in this case pending developments in the Third Circuit in Gibson v. State of New Jersey. 411 F.3d 427 (3d Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 2459 (March 20, 2006). Defendants State of New Jersey, New Jersey State Police, and Superintendent of New Jersey State Police ("Superintendent"), as well as defendants Paul Dreher, Pete Stilianesis, John Perry, Thomas Flarity, and Edward Wagner (collectively, "State Troopers")*fn3 reactivated this current motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on April 5, 2006. (Def.'s 4/5/06 Letter 1.)


Defendants bring this motion to dismiss on the following grounds: (1) 42 U.S.C. §1983 does not authorize suits against Defendants in their official capacities; (2) Plaintiff cannot hold defendant Superintendent liable under 42 U.S.C. §1983 based solely on a theory of respondeat superior; (3) Plaintiff's failure to abide by the notice provision of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act bars Plaintiff's common law tort claims; (4) Plaintiff fails to establish the necessary elements of common law malicious prosecution; (5) the New Jersey statutory claim for mistaken imprisonment only authorizes suits in state court against the New Jersey Department of Treasury; and (6) Plaintiff fails to establish the mandatory elements for injunctive relief. (Def.'s 11/1/2005 Br. 2-3.) As explained below, the Court grants Defendants' motion in part and denies its motion in part.

A. Standard of Review

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, all allegations in the complaint must be taken as true and viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc., v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998). 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.*fn4 See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). If, after viewing the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, it appears beyond doubt that no relief could be granted "under any set of ...

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.