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Brittingham v. City of Camden

July 9, 2007

RAHEEM BRITTINGHAM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CAMDEN, COUNTY OF CAMDEN, CAMDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT, CAMDEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, OFFICER JOHN KEMP, INVESTIGATOR BRIAN DECOSMO, AND JOHN DOE (1-15), DEFENDANTS.



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

relates to Docket Item #4

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court upon the motion of Defendant State of New Jersey ("the State") to dismiss Plaintiff Raheem Brittingham's ("Plaintiff") claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). [Docket Item No. 4]. The Court has considered the State's submissions in support thereof [Docket Items No. 4, 10] and the Plaintiff's opposition [Docket Item No. 9]. The Court will grant the motion and dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the State*fn2 because they are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Raheem Brittingham brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the City of Camden, Camden County, the Camden Police Department, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, the State of New Jersey, Officer John Kemp, Investigator Brian DeCosmo, and unnamed John Doe defendants. [See Docket Item No. 1]. The following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint filed January 12, 2007. [Id.]

Plaintiff alleges that on or about April 8, 2006, Defendants Kemp and DeCosmo forcefully entered a Camden apartment without warning or notice and shot Plaintiff in the shoulder. (Compl. at ¶¶ 11, 22.) He argues the deadly force was excessive, and used willfully, wantonly, and maliciously, without just cause, resulting in grievous bodily harm. (Id. at ¶¶ 17, 19, 22.)

In Counts One and Two of the Complaint, Plaintiff asserts Defendants' action violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Id. at ¶¶ 24, 31.) Plaintiff charges the John Doe defendants with the same violations in Count Three of the Complaint. (Id. at ¶ 38.)

Counts Four through Eight of the Complaint include the charges against the State of New Jersey, as well as other Defendants. Plaintiff asserts that the State of New Jersey maintained a police force and prosecutor's office around the City and County of Camden to ensure public safety and enforce the laws of the State. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

Counts Four and Five set out the Plaintiff's charges of civil rights violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ¶ 1983. (See id. at ¶¶ 45, 54.) Plaintiff alleges that the State is liable for actions violating his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights committed by the employees, agents, and servants of the City of Camden, the Camden Police Department, and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. (Id. at ¶ 48.) He argues that the State and municipal Defendants failed to properly hire, train, supervise and discipline their employees, who he asserts acted maliciously and used excessive force. (Id. at ¶ 57.)

Count Six is a charge of assault and battery, leveled against the State and municipal defendants as well as the police officers and the John Doe defendants. (Id. at ¶ 64.) Counts Seven and Eight assert negligence and claim punitive damages against all named Defendants. (Id. at ¶¶ 71, 76.)

On February 23, 2007, the State filed the instant motion for dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). [Docket Item No. 4]. On March 3, 2007, Plaintiff filed his opposition, [Docket Item No. 9] to which the State timely replied. [Docket Item No. 10].

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Standard of Review for a 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) must be denied "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). A district court must accept any and all reasonable inferences derived from those facts. Unger v. Nat'l Residents Matching Program, 928 F.2d 1392 (3d Cir. 1991); Glenside West Corp. v. Exxon Co., U.S.A., 761 F. Supp. 1100, 1107 (D.N.J. 1991). Further, the Court must view all allegations in the Complaint ...


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