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Hoffman v. County of Atlantic

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 18, 2014

COUNTY OF ATLANTIC, et al., Defendants.


ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.


Plaintiff is a state prisoner incarcerated at the Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights amended complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court previously administratively terminated this action as plaintiff had not paid the filing fee, nor had he submitted a complete application to proceed in forma pauperis. Subsequently, the Court received another application to proceed in forma pauperis from plaintiff. Accordingly, the Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case. Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted based on the information provided therein.

At this time, the Court must review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint will be dismissed. However, plaintiff shall be given the opportunity to submit a second amended complaint on his claims that are being dismissed without prejudice.


The allegations of the amended complaint are accepted as true for purposes of screening the amended complaint. Plaintiff names several defendants in the amended complaint, specifically: (1) William Southrey - Ex CEO and President of the Atlantic County Rescue Mission ("AC Rescue Mission"); (2) Timothy D. Hunt - AC Rescue Mission Warehouse Manager; (3) Tom Dougherty - Senior Probation Officer at the Atlantic County; (4) Betty Bendersky; (5) AC Rescue Mission Board of Trustees (Bob Stahler, Marilyn Bunty, Jeff Ropiecki, Robert Coste, Helen Demario, Glenn Gabrielle, Richard Kingert and James Leap); (6) Judge Siracusa - Ventnor Municipal Court; and (7) Richard McKelvey - Atlantic County Prosecutor.

A. William Southrey

Plaintiff states that William Southrey is the ex-CEO and president of the AC Rescue Mission. Plaintiff was previously Southrey's assistant. Plaintiff alleges that Southrey was having an affair with plaintiff's girlfriend, defendant Betty Bendersky, who was a client at the AC Rescue Mission. Southrey purportedly made false accusations about plaintiff to the Atlantic City Police Task Force and defendant Tom Dougherty. The allegations purportedly included that plaintiff beat and raped Benderksy. Southrey purportedly made these false allegations for fear that plaintiff would retaliate against him due to his affair with his girlfriend, Bendersky. Plaintiff states that Southrey paid Benderksy out of AC Rescue Mission funds. As to his actual legal claims, plaintiff alleges that Southrey, "conspired to falsely arrest and imprison the plaintiff which violated plaintiff's rights to probable cause, due process, grand jury presentment/indictment supervised by assignment judge, equal protection clause, to be informed of nature, cause and face witnesses against him." (Dkt. No. 2 at p. 6.)

B. Timothy Hunt

Plaintiff states that Timothy Hunt is the AC Rescue Mission warehouse manager. Plaintiff claims that Hunt assaulted and stabbed him on July 30, 2012. He further alleges that Hunt falsified police reports by alleging that plaintiff was the one who assaulted him on July 30, 2012. Hunt purportedly conspired with other defendants by not appearing at the municipal court to confirm the charges levied against plaintiff. Furthermore he claims:

[t]he defendant conspired with et al. defendants to falsely arrest, false imprison, which violates probable cause, due process (equal protection of the law), grand jury presentment - indictment supervised by Assignment Judge Julio Mendez or a designee, denied nature and cause of accusation - to be confronted with witnesses against plaintiff, to effective counsel which were denied. [¶] The defendant Tim Hunt is the cause of malicious prosecution and is liable for damages to plaintiff.

(Dkt. No. 2 at p. 8.)

C. Tom Dougherty

Plaintiff states that Tom Dougherty is a senior probation officer with Atlantic County. He claims that Dougherty conspired with Southrey and the defendants to falsely imprison plaintiff using a violation of parole when Dougherty knew that plaintiff failed to appear because he was in the hospital.

According to plaintiff, Dougherty told him to report to probation on July 30, 2012, which was the same day he was beaten by Hunt and sent to the hospital. Plaintiff's probation was subsequently listed as violated by Dougherty. Plaintiff claims that "the defendant Tom Dougherty violated plaintiff's right to due process, equal protection of the ...

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