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Tim Mcgeachy v. John Doe Warden Cover

June 2, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jose L. Linares




LINARES, District Judge:

Tim McGeachy, a pretrial detainee at Hudson County Correctional Center ("HCCC"), seeks to file a Complaint seeking damages from Lawrence County Correction Center in Pennsylvania, its warden, the Sheriff of Hudson County, New Jersey, and various Jane and John Does. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). This Court will grant Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis and collect the $350 filing fee by directing the Warden of HCCC to deduct installment payments in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). This Court has screened the Complaint for dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A and, for the reasons explained below, will dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.


In the Complaint, McGeachy makes the following factual assertions:

That on the 8th day of April 2010 that defendant(s) John Doe #1 the warden of Lawrence Co. Pennsylvania Jail in New Castle PA., did allow plaintiff to be illegally released to defendant John Doe #2 Hudson County Sheriff's Dept., who in turn transported plaintiff across state lines in violation of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (U.C.E.A) which violated plaintiff rights under the United States Constitution. (Docket Entry #1, p. 8.)

Plaintiff further claims that the Lawrence County Jail Warden violated his rights by allowing him to be released to Hudson County officials without a governor's warrant of extradition. (Docket Entry #1, p. 5.) For violation of his rights, Plaintiff seeks 20 million dollars in compensatory damages and five million dollars in punitive damages. (Id. at 9.)

Plaintiff previously filed in this Court a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his incarceration at the Hudson County Correctional Center. See McGeachy v. Veley, Civil No. 10-3343 (JLL) (D.N.J. filed June 30, 2010). By Opinion and Order entered August 24, 2010, this Court summarily dismissed the Petition without prejudice to the filing of a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 after Petitioner exhausted remedies available in the courts of the State of New Jersey. This Court will briefly outline Plaintiff's allegations in that petition, as they fill in the gaps of the meager allegations in this Complaint. Plaintiff alleged that on December 31, 2009, New Castle police officers arrested him in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on a homicide warrant issued in Hudson County, New Jersey. McGeachy allegedly elected to challenge the extradition and, through counsel, filed a habeas petition in the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County on March 1, 2010. See Pennsylvania v. McGeachy, Docket No. CR-0000403-09 (filed Jan. 6, 2010) (attached to petition at docket entry #1 at pp. 11-15.). The docket in the Pennsylvania matter, which was also attached to the petition, showed that on April 1, 2010, Judge Michael J. Wherry ordered McGeachy released to an agent of the State of New Jersey for transportation to New Jersey. McGeachy alleged in the petition that on April 8, 2010, Lawrence County Jail officials released him to the custody of the Hudson County Sheriff, whose agents transported him to the Hudson County Jail. Although the petition did not list grounds, in a narrative form McGeachy claimed that his transfer to New Jersey authorities violated his rights under the Extradition Act because the Governor of Pennsylvania did not sign a governor's warrant and the extradition papers were not proper. He sought a writ of habeas corpus determining that he was illegally imprisoned at Hudson County Correctional Center. This Court dismissed the petition because habeas relief based on irregularities in the extradition procedure is not available to a petitioner once he is in the demanding state. See Harden v. Pataki, 320 F. 3d 1289, 1299 (11th Cir. 2003). The dismissal was without prejudice to the filing of a § 2254 petition in the event that McGeachy was convicted on the New Jersey charges and he exhausted his federal claims before all three levels of the New Jersey courts.


Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), hammered the "final nail-in-the-coffin" for the "no set of facts" standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957),*fn1 which was previously applied to determine if a federal complaint stated a claim. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203 (3d Cir. 2009). The pleading standard under Rule 8 was refined by the United States Supreme Court in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), where the Supreme Court clarified as follows: Two working principles underlie our decision in Twombly. 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 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it 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). In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss 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 should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.

Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 -1950 (citations omitted).

Since Iqbal, the Third Circuit has required district courts to conduct a three-part analysis when reviewing a complaint for ...

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