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.

Duffy v. Freed

September 17, 2010

THOMAS B. DUFFY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HOWARD E. FREED, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

This disability discrimination matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss by Defendants Howard E. Freed, the City of Margate, the Galloway Township Municipal Court, and the Township of Galloway ("Municipal Defendants") [Docket Item 18], and a motion to dismiss by Defendants New Jersey Administrative Offices of the Courts, Vicinage I of the Superior Court of New Jersey, and the State of New Jersey ("State Defendants") [Docket Item 21]. Both motions were filed pursuant to Rule 12(c), Fed. R. Civ. P. Plaintiff, Thomas Duffy, a lawyer representing himself, opposes dismissal and moves for partial summary judgment and to amend the Complaint.*fn1

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that he was issued a speeding ticket, and that the municipal prosecutor, Mr. Freed, refused to offer him a plea deal in retaliation for Plaintiff's involvement in disability discrimination lawsuits against municipal court officials. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-4, 18.) Plaintiff maintains that both Mr. Freed and Mr. Freed's alleged employer, Galloway Township and the Galloway Municipal Court, thereby violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12203, by refusing to offer the plea in retaliation for his ADA activities, and failing to adequately train Mr. Freed. (Compl. ¶¶ 8, 12.)

Plaintiff also alleges that the procedures promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts with respect to internal grievances about ADA violations are inadequate, confusing, and not followed. (Compl. ¶¶ 5-7.) Plaintiff alleges that the municipal judge to whom he was required to submit his grievance about Mr. Freed failed to initiate an internal investigation as required by the procedures, and that the judge had a conflict of interest. (Id.; ¶¶ 14-17.) Plaintiff contends that the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Galloway Township Municipal Court, Vicinage I of the Superior Court, and the State of New Jersey thereby violated the ADA by limiting his access to relief under the ADA and failing to adequately train judiciary employees to handle ADA complaints.*fn2

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Dismissal under Rule 12(c) is warranted when "accept[ing] all factual allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff," Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008), the Complaint fails to present a plausible basis for relief (i.e. something more than the mere possibility of legal misconduct). See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1951 (2009); Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 n.2 (3d Cir. 2004) (applying Rule 12(b)(6) standard to Rule 12(c) motion).

B. Retaliation Claims

The anti-retaliation provision of the ADA prohibits any discrimination on the basis of an individual's opposition to ADA violations, § 12203(a), and interference, coercion, or intimidation with an individual in the exercise of any right granted by the ADA. § 12203(b). As explained below, Plaintiff's claim that Mr. Freed retaliated against him cannot be brought against Mr. Freed, and does not state a claim with respect to the municipal defendants.

1. Prosecutorial Immunity

Since Plaintiff sued Mr. Freed is his personal capacity, and assuming such an action can be brought against an individual in his personal capacity, the Complaint must be dismissed with respect to Mr. Freed because of prosecutorial immunity. "[A] prosecutor's decision whether to dispose of a case by plea -because dependent on delicate judgments affecting the course of a prosecution - is protected by the doctrine of absolute prosecutorial immunity." Davis v. Grusemeyer, 996 F.2d 617, 629 (3d Cir. 1993) abrogated on other grounds by Rolo v. City Investing Co. Liquidating Trust, 155 F.3d 644 (3d Cir. 1998).

That Mr. Freed had an illicit or even criminal motive is irrelevant to his immunity so long as he was performing a prosecutorial function. See Rose v. Bartle, 871 F.2d 331, 347 n.12 (3d Cir. 1989); Jennings v. Shuman, 567 F.2d 1213, 1221-22 (3d Cir. 1977) ("[A] prosecutor is entitled to absolute immunity while performing his official duties as a officer of the court, even if, in the performance of those duties, he is motivated by a corrupt or illegal intention."). Even if framed as a decision not to recuse, the decision is still a prosecutorial function protected by immunity. Cf. Corliss v. ...


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.