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Javitz Williams v. State of New Jersey Bureau

March 22, 2011

JAVITZ WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY BUREAU
OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the motion of Defendant, New Jersey Department of Corrections, improperly pled as the State of New Jersey Bureau of Corrections, to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Docket entry no. 14). This motion is being considered on the papers, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion will be granted, and the Complaint will be dismissed with prejudice, in its entirety, as against the defendant, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, improperly pled as the State of New Jersey Bureau of Corrections accordingly.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Javitz Williams, filed this civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that, on or about May 2, 2007, he was maliciously beaten by correctional officers while he was confined at the Passaic County Jail ("PCJ"). Williams brings this Complaint against the following defendants: the New Jersey Department of Corrections, improperly pled as the State of New Jersey Bureau of Corrections (hereinafter "NJDOC"); the County of Passaic; Sergeant R. Grant; CO McNally; CO Flores; CO Vasquez; and CO Purham. The Complaint does not allege any facts against the defendants, NJDOC and the County of Passaic.

On August 16, 2010, the NJDOC filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The other defendants have not filed an answer or otherwise pled in response to the Complaint.

Defendant NJDOC asserts that dismissal is appropriate because defendant is not a person subject to suit under § 1983, is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, and because the Complaint fails to assert factual allegations or legal claims against defendant. Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court is required to accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and to view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S.__, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994). A complaint should be dismissed only if the alleged facts, taken as true, fail to state a claim. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950.

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. See Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). "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 Wright & Miller, Fed. Practice & Procedure: Civil 2d § 1357 at 340). The Supreme Court has held that "[w]hile 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, .... 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)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and quotations omitted); see also Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50.

B. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that, "The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."

As a general proposition, a suit by private parties seeking to impose a liability which must be paid from public funds in a state treasury is barred from federal court by the Eleventh Amendment, unless Eleventh Amendment immunity is waived by the state itself or by federal statute. See, e.g., Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 663 (1974). The Eleventh Amendment protects states and their agencies and departments from suit in federal court regardless of the type of relief sought. Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). Similarly, absent consent by a state, the Eleventh Amendment bars federal court suits for money damages against state officers in their ...


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