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Ricky Pridgeon v. Monmouth County Jail

December 16, 2010


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



Ricky Pridgeon, a prisoner incarcerated at Monmouth County Correctional Institution ("MCCI"), filed a Complaint and an Amended Complaint claiming that the Asbury Park Police Department violated his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him in June 2008 without probable cause. This Court dismissed the Complaint and first Amended Complaint pursuant Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), with leave to file a second amended complaint. Plaintiff thereafter filed a Second Amended Complaint naming 28 defendants and over one hundred John Does. Having thoroughly reviewed Plaintiff's allegations, as required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, this Court will dismiss the Second Amended Complaint, without prejudice to the filing of a third amended complaint.


Plaintiff's first Amended Complaint asserted violation of his Fourth Amendment rights by Monmouth County Jail, Monmouth County, and the Asbury Park Police Department. He asserted the following facts:

On 6/17/08 the County of [Monmouth] violated my Fourth Amendment by not showing probable cause for and arrest must do so as soon as is reasonably as 72 hours in which one year is unreasonably delay 6/8/09 also Monmouth County Jail on 6/16/08 accepted me without proper document to detain a person without a complaint warrant. On 9/22/08 question warden about document of proof to justify arrest 1/20/09 I received a bail sheet of proof of arrest I requested proof Judge signature to justify incarceration 2/12/09 there was no results. Also Asbury Park police department one or arrested me 6/16/08 illegally without probable cause or proof of an arrest warrant. Violation of my Fourth and 14th Amendment of due process of the law. (Docket entry #3 at p. 7.)

This Court dismissed the Amended Complaint on February 1, 2010, as follows:

Plaintiff claims that the Monmouth County Jail and the Asbury Park Police Department violated his Fourth Amendment rights and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. However, neither a jail nor a police department is a "person" which may be found liable under § 1983. See Petaway v. City of New Haven Police Dept., 541 F. Supp. 2d 504, 510 (D. Conn. 2008); PBA Local No. 38 v. Woodbridge Police Dept., 832 F. Supp. 808, 825-26 (D.N.J. 1993); Powell v. Cook County Jail, 814 F. Supp. 757, 758 (N.D. Ill. 1993); McCoy v. Chesapeake Correctional Center, 788 F. Supp. 890, 893-894 (E.D. Va. 1992). Although Monmouth County is a municipal entity that may be subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, see Ryan v. Burlington County, NJ, 889 F. 2d 1286, 1289 n.1, 1290 (3d Cir. 1989), a municipal entity cannot be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 solely because it employs a tortfeasor. See Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). Rather, "it is [only] when execution of a government's policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts and acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury that the government as an entity is responsible under § 1983." Id. Because Plaintiff's allegations do not show that the execution of a policy or custom adopted by the County of Monmouth County inflicted the constitutional injury, the Complaint fails to state a claim against the county and will be dismissed. However, because Plaintiff may be able to state a cognizable claim under § 1983 by filing an amended complaint against the county and/or the individual(s) who allegedly caused violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights, this Court will grant Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended Complaint. (Docket Entry #8 at pp. 4-5.)

Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on February 5, 2010. (Docket Entry #10.) The named defendants include the City of Asbury Park; unnamed Asbury Park police officers; the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office; several named prosecutors; several non-attorney officials employed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office; public defenders; the Monmouth County Sheriff; several officials at Monmouth County Correctional Institution; several members of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders; and one hundred unnamed individuals. Most of the 14-page Second Amended Complaint asserts legal and unsupported factual conclusions indicating that Plaintiff was arrested in violation of the Fourth Amendment, jail officials are confining him without legal authority, prosecutors are illegally prosecuting him, public defenders are not properly representing him, and Asbury Park and Monmouth County failed to properly train employees not to violate constitutional rights. When the legal and factual conclusions are excluded, Plaintiff's factual allegations amount to the following:

Ricky Pridgeon is 46 years old who currently resides at M.C.C.I. . . . and has been detained at M.C.C.I. since on or about June 16, 2008 . .

On June 16, 2008 Plaintiff was loading his truck with his tools on or about 7:35 pm. He was approached by Detective Chapman and John Doe 1. Detective Chapman told the Plaintiff that there was a secret indictment warrant and that he was being arrested.

A day later, June 17, 2008, the Plaintiff requested an initial appearance and a copy of the indictment warrant and/or complaint warrant that has never been produced.

Plaintiff was arrested and charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child (2C:14-2) (2C:14-3). Plaintiff was held at Asbury Park Police Department for an hour, finger printed, mug shot taken, and transported to the Monmouth County Jail.

On information and belief Detective Chapman intentionally falsified documents in order to illegally arrest plaintiff. The arrest of Plaintiff has caused mental and emotional distress. The Plaintiff has been placed on medication to relieve the stress.

* * * The Defendant's use of alternative means to arrest the plaintiff/petitioner then issued a certain type of charge against the plaintiff/petitioner for the sole purpose to be placed on a maximum security pod because by M.C.C.I. standard I fit the profile of a predator but with no criminal history, adult or juvenile. This way I would never be able to go to a work pod in M.C.C.I. . . . . I am in maximum custody and allegedly a security threat . . . The plaintiff/petitioner asks the honorable court to order the defendants to show the cause as to the validity of so many claims of security procedures and counts for justification . . . I am in maximum security unit without surveillance cameras to stop or deter all the beatings and jumpings . . . . When the officers are sometimes sleeping and/or napping on duty or taking 20 minute bathroom breaks, the pod is unattended. The gangs wait and steal your things even attacking, threatening, and beating you in the same manner. ("SOCIAL SERVICES") has allowed county inmates, known as ("RUNNERS"), to deliver important information and documents to the selected units . . . without being monitored, supervised, and/or trained, therefore documents are just placed on a table in the pod where any other inmate can browse/read them. The defendants have violated my right to privacy by allowing other inmates to view my personal information and/or account status to inform other inmates that has placed me in severe danger . . .

On March 10, 2006 the plaintiff was illegally detained on an investigated detention order to take [a] swab (DNA). Two detectives seized the plaintiff. Neither detective had the detention order or search warrant in their possession issued by any judge, court, or magistrate authorizing detention or search.

On June 16, 2008 the defendants Richard Chapman and John Doe #1 illegally arrested the plaintiff/petitioner without probable cause and/or arrest warrant. The plaintiff was transported to Asbury Park Police Department.

There at the Asbury Park Police Department the plaintiff was searched and finger printed, mug shots were tak[en] all without being placed under arrest and then transported to Monmouth County Jail and accepted without proper document required by custom and policies of county.

Neither of the defendants ("DETECTIVE CHAPMAN," "JOHN DOE 1") at the time of the above-mentioned arrest had in their possession the proper document (arrest warrant) issued by any judge, court, or magistrate authorizing an arrest.

June 17, 2008 after leaving "Booking" at M.C.C.I. without a complaint warrant signed by either a Superior or Municipal Judge or Criminal Case Manager as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the State and Federal Constitution.

June 17, 2008 The Monmouth County Jail (known as M.C.C.I.) was to provide me with an initial appearance (72 hours) in front of a magistrate where I would be provided with a complaint warrant by the prosecutor, this being a violation of my Fourteenth Amendment Right to Due Process.

September 12, 2008 There was a complaint filed against Shelly Logan (appointed counsel) of the charge of misconduct and ineffective counsel (Municipal Court Judge Thomas F.X. Foley found probable cause (S-2008-000946), mistrust of client/counsel privilege by recklessly informing inmates with information about my case, this being a violation of my Sixth Amendment Right to Complete and Competent Counsel . . . .

September 22, 2008 Plaintiff filed grievance addressing Capt. Fatagate and Warden Frasier to show proof to justify and show cause for Plaintiff's arrest . . . .

The City of Asbury Park and The County of Monmouth County (Freehold) as defendants each failed to use reasonable care in the selection if its employees, agents, and servants and failed to properly train and supervise the individual defendants and failed to provide ...

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