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Jones v. Union County Prosecutor's Office

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 29, 2013

CURTIS JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNION COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

CURTIS JONES, #637521, Newark, New Jersey, Plaintiff pro se.

OPINION

FAITH S. HOCHBERG, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Curtis Jones, (hereinafter "Plaintiff"), a state inmate presently confined at the Kintock Halfway House in Newark, New Jersey, at the time he submitted this action for filing, seeks to bring this civil action in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis will be denied. In addition, because the Complaint fails to set forth a cognizable claim for relief, the Court will dismiss this case with prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brings this Complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against named Defendants, the Union County Prosecutor's Office, Assistant Prosecutor Lucinda McLaughlin and Assistant Prosecutor Jill Grace-O'Malley. (Complaint, Caption, ¶ 2.) Plaintiff generally alleges claims of malicious prosecution with regard to New Jersey state court indictments occurring in 2007 and 2008, namely, Indictment No. 07-03-00180 (with regard to an October 19, 2006 arrest), Indictment No. 08-05-00371 (regarding a January 20, 2008 arrest), and Indictment No. 08-10-01557 (regarding an August 26, 2008 arrest). Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $1, 750, 000.00, as well as punitive damages in the same amount. He also seeks injunctive relief compelling the termination of the Defendants McLaughlin and Grace-O'Malley.

Plaintiff is no stranger to the District of New Jersey. In fact, Plaintiff is a litigant with "three strikes" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Jones v. Cito, Civil No. 10-1218 (FSH)(dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1)); Jones v. Caruso, et al., Civil No. 10-1284 (FSH)(same); and Jones v. Plainfield Police Dept., et al., Civil No. 12-7808 (FSH)(same). Therefore, this action is subject to the "three strikes" provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

II. DISCUSSION

A. "Three-Strikes" Provision

Plaintiff seeks to proceed with this action in forma pauperis ("IFP"), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, having submitted an IFP application with his form Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), enacted on April 26, 1996, prohibits a prisoner from bringing a civil action in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, "if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); see also Keener v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole, 128 F.3d 143, 144-45 (3d Cir. 1997) (holding that frivolousness dismissals prior to enactment of PLRA count as "strikes" under § 1915(g)). A prisoner who has three or more such dismissals may be excused from this rule only if he is "under imminent danger of serious physical injury." Id. When deciding whether an inmate meets the "imminent danger" requirement, a court must examine the situation faced by the inmate at the time of the filing of the complaint, and a showing of danger in the past is insufficient to demonstrate "imminent danger." Abdul-Akbar v. McKelvie, 239 F.3d 307, 312 (3d Cir. 2001).

As related above, Plaintiff has filed three earlier civil actions in the District of New Jersey, which were dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1). Accordingly, Plaintiff is deemed a litigant with "three strikes" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) because he has passed the statutory limit as set forth in that statute. Plaintiff is now precluded from seeking in forma pauperis status pursuant to § 1915(g)'s "three strikes" rule unless he alleges facts to show that he is in "imminent danger of serious physical injury", which would excuse him from the restrictions under § 1915(g).

In this Complaint, Plaintiff makes no allegations or claims of "imminent danger." Rather, the Complaint merely asserts various claims based on allegations of malicious prosecution with regard to Plaintiff's arrests, indictments and subsequent convictions for crimes committed in 2006 and 2008. Consequently, because the Complaint in this action does not contain sufficient allegations reasonably suggesting that Plaintiff is in "imminent danger of serious physical injury", which would excuse him from the restrictions under § 1915(g), Plaintiff may not proceed in forma pauperis.

B. Complaint Subject to Dismissal Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996), requires a district court to 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. The Court is required to identify cognizable claims and to 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. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. Having determined that Plaintiff is not entitled to proceed in ...


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