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Rodriguez v. State

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 24, 2013

JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al., Defendants. JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BERNARD E. DELURY, JR., et al., Defendants. JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF SOMERS POINT, Defendant. JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BERNARD E. DELURY, JR., Defendant. JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHANIE K. THEWS, et al., Defendants. JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Defendant.

OPINION APPLIES TO ALL ACTIONS

RENÉE MARIE BUMB, District Judge.

These six civil matters come before the Court upon the Clerk's receipt of an informal notice and four civil complaints executed by Jean Emmanuel Rodriguez ("Plaintiff"), a litigant who already commenced two prior civil actions in this District, with regard to one of which the Court granted in forma pauperis status and directed re-pleading and terminated the other as potentially duplicative. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's in forma pauperis status will be temporarily suspended in the matter where such status was granted, with leave to seek restoration of the same. All Plaintiff's pleadings submitted in these six matters will be dismissed with leave to amend the claims Plaintiff wishes to litigate, if any.[1]

Plaintiff's history of litigation in this District began on July 2, 2013, when the Clerk received his civil complaint that gave rise to Rodriguez v. State of New Jersey ("Rodriguez-I"), Civil Action No. 13-4101 (RMB) (D.N.J.).[2] Plaintiff accompanied that complaint with an application to proceed in forma pauperis, in support of which he submitted his affidavit of poverty, see Rodriguez-I, Docket Entry No. 1-1, [3] and designated his address as "100 New Road, Apt. F3, Somerset Point, New Jersey 08244." Id., Docket Entry No. 1, at 2.

Therefore, the Court construed Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application as that filed by an individual not held in pre-trial or post-conviction custody and, correspondingly, granted him in forma pauperis status without directing submission of his prison account statement. See id., Docket Entry No. 2. In conjunction with the same, the Court screened Plaintiff's Rodriguez-I complaint. The complaint raised a panoply of vaguely articulated challenges and named a long list of defendants with regard to whom Plaintiff omitted to detail any facts indicating their personal involvement in any wrongs.[4] Therefore, the Court dismissed the Rodriguez-I complaint without prejudice to filing an amended pleading stating Plaintiff's facts. See id., Docket Entry No. 2. To assist Plaintiff with that task, the Court summarized for him the pleading requirement. See id. at 2-3.

In response, Plaintiff submitted his amended Rodriguez-I pleading. See id., Docket Entry No. 3. That pleading named, as defendants, the same entities and individuals, made the same demands and allegations and, in addition, included a mentioning of a certain "fraudulent hearing" conducted by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (that is, an arm of the Supreme Court of New Jersey) in response to what, seemingly, was Plaintiff's filing of a grievance against one of the Superior Court judges who presided either over his criminal proceeding or his appeal. See id.

The Court screened that amended pleading and, taking notice of the incoherence and factual insufficiency of Plaintiff's allegations, dismissed that pleading too while providing a detailed explanation of the pleading standard and issuing Plaintiff another leave to amend. See id., Docket Entry No. 4.

The second amended complaint followed. See id., Docket Entry No. 5. It, too, named the same list of entities and individuals as defendants, made the same demands and asserted, without a specification, the wrongs of "arresting Plaintiff without probable cause, " "detaining Plaintiff for an extended period of time without probable cause, " "ransoming Plaintiff's freedom without probable cause, " "continuously summoning Plaintiff without probable cause, " "denying Plaintiff proper counsel, " "prosecuting Plaintiff with fraudulent accusations, " "denying Plaintiff equal rights under the law, " "conspiring against the civil rights of Plaintiff, " "breach of verbal contract and defamation of Plaintiff's character." Id. at 3.

The Court screened Plaintiff's second amended complaint and, once again, dismissed it while re-explaining, at great length, the pleading standard. See id., Docket Entry No. 6. at 2-4.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Court allowed Plaintiff one more opportunity to submit a viable civil complaint in Rodriguez-I within thirty days from the date of entry of the Court's order. See id. at 4. Plaintiff, however, made no submissions in Rodriguez-I.[5] Rather, on October 2, 2013, he submitted another civil complaint that gave rise to Rodriguez v. DeLury ("Rodriguez-II"), Civil Action No. 13-5866 (RMB) (D.N.J.). See Rodriguez-II, Docket Entry No. 1.

The Rodriguez-II complaint indicated that Plaintiff was held in either pre-trial or post-conviction confinement, see id. at 2, but did not provide the Court with any information as to the date when his confinement commenced.[6] Moreover, the Rodriguez-II complaint arrived unaccompanied by the applicable filing fee or by Plaintiff's application to prosecute Rodriguez-II in forma pauperis. See id., Docket Entry No. 1.

Being uncertain as to the connection, if any, between Plaintiff's allegations raised in Rodriguez-I and the claims raised in Rodriguez-II, and mindful of the possibility that, in the event Plaintiff proved to be a confined individual, he would be assessed separate filing fees and exposed to the risk of incurring two "strikes" in connection with these two matters, the Court construed the pleading docketed in Rodriguez-II as Plaintiff's third amended complaint in Rodriguez-I. Hence, the Court clarified to Plaintiff the filing fee requirement, as well as the requirement associated with obtaining in forma pauperis status in the event one is a pre-trial detainee or postconviction prisoner. See id. Docket Entries Nos. 2 and 3 (explaining that the filing fee was $400 but a confined individual could qualify for incremental assessment of only $350 fee upon submission of an affidavit and prison account statement establishing his status as a pauper).

The Court, therefore, extended Plaintiff's time to file a viable pleading in Rodriguez-I and deemed Rodriguez-II an action presumptively duplicative of Rodriguez-I.[7] See id., Docket Entry No. 3.

Plaintiff however, did not file anything in Rodriguez-I. Nor did he make any submissions in Rodriguez-II. Rather, he sent the Clerk four civil complaints that gave rise to Rodriguez v. City of Somers Point ("Rodriguez-III"), Civil Action No. 13-6131 (RMB) (D.N.J.) (filed on Oct. 16, 2013); Rodriguez v. DeLury ("Rodriguez-IV"), Civil Action No. 13-6132 (RMB) (D.N.J.) (filed on Oct. 16, 2013); Rodriguez v. Thews ("Rodriguez-V"), Civil Action No. 13-6178 (RMB) (D.N.J.) (filed on Oct. 17, 2013); Rodriguez v. State of New Jersey ("Rodriguez-VI"), Civil Action No. 13-6179 (RMB) (D.N.J.) (filed on Oct. 17, 2013).[8] As in Rodriguez-II, each of these four complaints arrived unaccompanied by Plaintiff's filing fee or his in forma pauperis application.

The complaint in Rodriguez-III: (a) asserted, again (and just as in Rodriguez-I) that Plaintiff was residing at "100 New Road, Apt. F3, Somerset Point, New Jersey 08244"; but, simultaneously, (b) stated Plaintiff's mailing address at prison (hence indicating that he was a confined individual); (c) alleged that the City of Somers Point and its municiple court, as well as the City's police department, were "depriv[ing] Plaintiff... of life and liberty by false accusations, violation of probable cause, and... den[ial of] due process"; and (d) sought an "audio-video evidence from the holding cell [on the already past date of] August 12, 2013, between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 4 p.m., " a deposition of a certain police officer, this Court's verification of "the ...


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