The opinion of the court was delivered by: Greenaway, Jr., U.S.D.J.
This matter comes before this Court on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, by Defendants, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ("Port Authority"); Joseph Stitz, Jr., ("Stitz"); Juan Garcia ("Garcia"); and Paul Crist ("Crist") (collectively "Defendants"), against Plaintiff, Vincent Campanello ("Plaintiff" or "Campanello"), pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6), FED. R. CIV. P. 12(c), and L. Civ. R. 7.1. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.
On or about January 1998, Plaintiff Vincent Campanello was hired by General Research, a division of Artenyro, Inc., a staffing company located in Teaneck, New Jersey. (Plaintiff's Complaint, ("Compl.) Count I, ¶1.) Campanello was placed at the Port Authority, as a contract employee in the Maintenance Engineering Design Division. (Id., ¶¶ 2, 3.) Plaintiff was assigned to the Tunnels Bridges and Terminals Division, and worked under the supervision of Defendant Paul Crist. (Id., ¶ 4.) In connection with his duties, Plaintiff was given an office, a computer, access to support personnel, equipment, and other supplies. (Id., ¶ 6.) In order to complete his duties, Campanello alleges that he requested and received authorization, from Defendant George Broadbent*fn1 , to obtain a laptop computer for his use outside of his office. (Id., ¶ 7.)
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center, in New York City, New York, Campanello was asked to accompany and to assist various Port Authority personnel, dignitaries, government officials, and other parties to the World Trade Center site. (Id., ¶ 8.) In order to ensure the safety of those visitors, Plaintiff retrieved hard hats, vests, flashlights, goggles, gas masks, and other emergency gear from the Port Authority property room. (Id., ¶¶ 9, 11.) Plaintiff obtained these items by filling out a request voucher. (Id., ¶ 11.) Plaintiff alleges that, occasionally, when he attempted to return certain items to the property room, he was advised that he did not have to return the items, and could dispose of them, as he saw fit. (Id., ¶ 12.) Campanello further alleges that, after being repeatedly told not to return items to the property room, he discontinued his routine of returning any items. (Id., ¶ 13.) Instead, Campanello kept the items in his car or at his home. (Id., ¶ 14.)
On or about January 18, 2005, Campanello was interviewed about missing property room items by Defendants Joseph Stitz and Juan Garcia, detectives with the Port Authority Police Department. (Id., ¶ 15.) After the interview, on January 18, 2005, Stitz and Garcia, acting on behalf of the Port Authority, charged Plaintiff with receipt of stolen property, in Brick Township, Ocean County, New Jersey, in violation of N. J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:20-7(a). (Id., ¶ 17.)*fn2 Plaintiff was also charged, on that same date, with theft, in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, and with theft of movable property in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, both in violation of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:20-3(a). (Id., ¶¶ 18,19.) In connection with these charges, Campanello was arrested, fingerprinted, handcuffed, photographed, and temporarily detained. (Id., ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges that the charges against him were filed without probable cause. (Id., ¶ 21.)
Campanello alleges that following his arrest, on June 20, 2005, the Newark Municipal Court dismissed the charges against him, based on the Essex County Prosecutor's failure to provide discovery. (Id., ¶¶ 23, 24.) Similarly, on October 20, 2005, the Brick Township Municipal Court dismissed the charges against Campanello, following the Ocean County Prosecutor's failure to provide discovery in the matter. (Id., ¶¶ 29, 30.) The Jersey City Municipal Prosecutor voluntarily dismissed all remaining charges against Plaintiff on February 1, 2007. (Id., ¶ 34.)
Plaintiff filed his Complaint with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, on August 23, 2007. Defendants filed a Notice of Removal with this Court on October 11, 2007. Jurisdiction is proper with this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, as issues in the instant action arise under federal law. Jurisdiction is also proper, pursuant to this Court's diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). Plaintiff's and Defendants' citizenship is diverse, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00.
A motion for judgment on the pleadings, pursuant to FED. R. CIV . P. 12(c), may be filed after the defendant has filed an answer to the complaint. Mele v. Fed. Reserve Bank of N.Y., 359 F.3d 251, 253 n.1 (3d Cir. 2004).*fn3 The standard for a motion for judgment on the pleadings under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(c), is the same as that for a motion to dismiss under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b). See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004) ("There is no material difference in the applicable legal standards.").
A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss should be granted only if the plaintiff is unable to articulate "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1974; see also In re Warfarin Sodium Antitrust Litig., 214 F.3d 395, 397 (3d Cir. 2000) (stating that a complaint should be dismissed only if the alleged facts, taken as true, fail to state a claim). "Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 (internal citations omitted); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. at 1965 (internal citations omitted). "The pleader is required to 'set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his claim or to permit inferences to be drawn that these elements exist.'" Kost v. Kozakewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (quoting 5A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure Civil 2d § 1357 at 340) (2d ed. 1990).
A court must accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384-85 (3d Cir. 1994); see also Sturm v. Clark, 835 F.2d 1009, 1011 (3d Cir. 1987). The question is whether the claimant can prove any set of facts consistent with his or her allegations that will entitle him to relief, not whether that person will ultimately prevail. Semerenko v. Cendant Corp., 223 F.3d 165, 173 (3d Cir. 2000).
While a court will accept well-pled allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept bald assertions, unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 n.8 (3d Cir. 1997). "The defendant bears the burden of showing ...