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DR. EMORY MUHAMMAD GHANA, et al v. MARY CUFF

November 30, 2010

DR. EMORY MUHAMMAD GHANA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MARY CUFF, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary L. Cooper United States District Judge

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Plaintiffs, Emory Muhammad Ghana and Ali Fard Dehunte Quan, confined at the New Jersey State Prison, submitted this complaint alleging violations of constitutional rights, and seeking to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

The case was previously administratively terminated for failure of the named plaintiffs to either pay the filing fee or submit a complete in forma pauperis application. Plaintiff Ghana has since filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Therefore, the case was reopened. However, as Plaintiff Quan has not filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis, the action will be terminated as to him.

Furthermore, when Ghana submitted his application to proceed in forma pauperis, he named additional defendants and submitted additional claims. Thus, this Court construes the submission as a request to amend the complaint, which this Court grants in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 (a)(2).

The Court must review the complaint and amending submissions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. The amended complaint must be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Ghana's complaint and attachments to his application to proceed in forma pauperis suggest that his New Jersey state-imposed parole eligibility term of eighteen years is illegal and void. Plaintiff argues that the term amounts to a "murder plot" by the defendants, because the term exceeds his life expectancy. He argues that under N.J.S.A. § 30:4-123.51(j), he was not eligible for the 18-year eligibility term. Plaintiff asks for monetary relief, immediate release on parole, and other relief.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

The Court must (1) review a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis or seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, and (2) identify cognizable claims and sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A.

The standard for summary dismissal of a complaint that fails to state a claim is set forth in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). The Court examined Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), which provides that a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).*fn1 Citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), for the proposition that "[a] pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do,'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555), the Supreme Court identified two working principles underlying the failure to state a claim standard:

First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice ... . Rule 8 ... does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not "show[n]"-"that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2).

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50 (citations omitted). The Court further explained that: a court . . . can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court ...


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