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Donell L. Prince v. Thomas Aiellos

December 21, 2010

DONELL L. PRINCE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMAS AIELLOS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

This matter comes before the Court by way of three motions to dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), as well as several informal requests to strike Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. The formal motions to dismiss have been filed by the following Defendants: Erin Fahey and Care Plus NJ, Inc.; Bergen Regional Medical Center and Erica Schiffman, M.D.; and Thomas Aiellos, A. Gutierrez and A. Ferraioli. The Court has considered the submissions made in support of and in opposition to the instant motions. No oral argument was heard. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78. Based on the reasons that follow, the foregoing motions are granted. The matter will proceed solely as to: (a) Plaintiff's claim of malicious prosecution as against Defendant Sergeant Thomas Aiellos, and (b) Plaintiff's equal protection claim as against Defendant Janice Behnke. Defenant Aiellos shall file an Answer to Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint within fourteen (14) days. Defendant Behnke shall file an Answer or a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint within fourteen (14) days.

OPINION

BACKGROUND

1. Procedural Background

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se in this matter, commenced the instant cause of action on October 23, 2009. An Amended Complaint was filed in February 2010. A motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint was filed by Defendant Bergen Regional Medical Center on April 5, 2010. The motion was joined by Defendants E. Fahey and Care Plus NJ, Inc. on April 16, 2010. On April 23, 2010, Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint was granted. In doing so, the Court noted that Plaintiff had failed to oppose said motion and that Plaintiff's § 1983 claims as against the foregoing defendants were barred by the two-year statute of limitations given that "no wrongful act by moving Defendants is alleged to have occurred later than the end of 2005, well over two years prior to the filing of the original complaint in this case." See Docket Entry No. 40 at 3.

On May 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion to vacate this Court's April 23, 2010 decision pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). Plaintiff also requested leave to amend the Amended Complaint. On July 12, 2010, this Court granted Plaintiff's motion to vacate and granted Plaintiff's request for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. In doing so, the Court also dismissed, without prejudice, all motions to dismiss the Amended Complaint which were pending at that time. The Second Amended Complaint was filed on the Court's docket in August 2010. Seven motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint were subsequently filed. On October 8, 2010, this Court granted in part and denied in part the foregoing motions. In particular, the Court found that Plaintiff had stated a claim of malicious prosecution as against Sergeant Thomas Aiellos, but that all other claims asserted, as against all other Defendants, failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court did, however, grant Plaintiff leave to file a Third Amended Complaint to cure the pleading deficiencies in two claims: (1) conspiracy to maliciously prosecute, and (2) equal protection. In doing so, the Court explained as follows:

To the extent Plaintiff chooses to re-plead either of these claims, Plaintiffs is hereby advised to clearly identify which claims are being brought against which specific defendants and to set forth specific factual allegations in support of each claim. Plaintiff is also directed to exclude any facts and/or defendants pertaining to claims which have now been dismissed by the Court. Should Plaintiff choose not to re-plead his conspiracy and/or equal protection claims, this case will proceed solely as to Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim as against Defendant Sergeant Aiellos. (October 8, 2010 Opinion).

On October 27, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Complaint. Three formal motions to dismiss have since been filed and are now before the Court. In addition, several Defendants have filed informal requests to strike the Third Amended Complaint on the basis that it fails to comply with the directives set forth in this Court's October 8, 2010 Opinion and Order.

2. Third Amended Complaint

The Court has closely reviewed Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint and finds that the allegations set forth therein are, for all intents and purposes, the same as the allegations set forth in the Second Amended Complaint. For purposes of ease and efficiency, the Court relies on its October 8, 2010 recitation of the alleged facts, as follows, all of which are accepted as true for purposes of this motion:

Plaintiff has a history with the Hackensack Police Department and Municipal Court dating back to the early 1990s which stems from an automobile accident and his attempts to hold certain police officers, paramedics and others accountable in connection with said accident. (Compl., ¶ 19(a)). In particular, Plaintiff alleges that he was involved in an automobile accident during that time period and sustained injuries as a result. The paramedic and police officer who reported to the scene of the accident, upon realizing that Plaintiff was black, questioned whether or not he had actually been injured. (Compl., ¶ 19(a)). Believing that Plaintiff was faking his injuries, the police officer falsified the accident report to blame the accident on an unknown third-party. (Compl., ¶ 19(a)). At the time, the Hackensack Police Department and Municipal Court refused to allow Plaintiff to file any complaints related to this accident. ( Id.). To the contrary, Hackensack Internal Affairs Police Captain Smith warned Plaintiff to back off otherwise "things could happen" to him. ( Id.). Plaintiff further alleges that "coincidentally some of their threats came true" when the attorney representing him in a related personal injury matter secretly agreed with his adversaries to handle Plaintiff's claims improperly, which ultimately led to the loss of his medical and income continuation benefits. (Compl., ¶ 19(b)).

On May 23, 2005, while Plaintiff was "coincidentally" working on an appeal in connection with his automobile accident, certain members of the Hackensack Police Department illegally entered his apartment. (Compl., ¶¶ 19(c), 20(a)). According to the Complaint, four plain clothes narcotics police officers from the Hackensack Police Department (Thomas Aiellos, W. Inglima, A. Gutierrez and A. Ferraoili), who claimed they were chasing a suspect in the area, came upon Plaintiff's apartment and noticed that the front door was ajar. ( Id.). Without knocking on the door or announcing themselves as police officers, said officers attempted to enter Plaintiff's apartment, at which time Plaintiff grabbed his gun to protect himself and turned on the lights. ( Id.). Plaintiff later found out that, following the May 23, 2005 incident, Lt. Lee from the Hackensack Police Department had called a psychiatric hotline screener associated with Care Plus of NJ, Inc. and/or the Bergen Regional Medical Center Psychiatric Unit and conveyed certain information concerning Plaintiff's behavior that evening: he had threatened to kill himself; he had his refrigerator chained up; he fought "imaginary people"; and he was generally delusional. (Compl., ¶ 22(a)).

Although the May 23, 2005 incident ended uneventfully, the officers returned to Plaintiff's apartment the following night and asked Plaintiff to go down to the police station to discuss what had happened the night before. (Compl., ¶ 21). Plaintiff complied with their request and voluntarily went to the police station. ( Id.). Although Plaintiff was not placed under arrest, he was led to a holding cell. ( Id.). Plaintiff asked for a telephone or an attorney but was told that he was not entitled to either because he was not under arrest. ( Id.). Plaintiff was then taken to the Bergen Regional Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation pursuant to a purported Court Order. ( Id.). From May 24, 2005 to May 25, 2005, Plaintiff remained at the Bergen Regional Medical Center, despite no formal charges having been filed against him. ( Id.). During this time, he was "hand cuffed to [a] bed and under police guard." (Compl., ¶ 22(c)). He was interviewed by Defendant E. Fahey, an employee of Care Plus NJ, Inc., at the Bergen Regional Medical Center on May 25, 2005. (Compl ., ¶ 24). The Second Amended Complaint alleges that some of the notes taken by E. Fahey of Plaintiff's account of the May 23, 2005 incident were fabricated, altered and later ...


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