United States District Court, D. New Jersey
For ADEL MIKHAEIL, Plaintiff: RICHARD R. CAPONE, LEAD ATTORNEY, LINWOOD, NJ.
ANGEL SANTOS, Defendant, Pro se, BAYONNE, NJ.
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Adel Mikhaeil brings this action against Defendant Angel Santos, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On February 19, 2014, the Court entered an order requesting briefing on whether Defendant Angel Santos can be sued as a private actor under Section 1983. The Court now acts sua sponte to determine whether the Complaint states a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses all claims against Defendant.
Plaintiff Adel Mikhaeil employed Defendant Angel Santos as a bounty hunter. Pl.'s Br. 1, ECF No. 108. Defendant was terminated from his employment after being charged with second-degree burglary while on the job. Id. Defendant then became an informant for the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office against Plaintiff in an unrelated case. Id.
On August 7, 2008, Defendant filed a report with the Jersey City Police Department stating that Plaintiff was outside Defendant's house threatening him that " he was a dead rat." Compl. ¶ 21. Plaintiff alleges that he was not outside of Defendant's house that day. Id. Plaintiff was subsequently incarcerated for making terroristic threats and witness tampering. Compl. ¶ 25.
Plaintiff asserts a claim under Section 1983 against Defendant. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Defendant was part of a broad conspiracy against Plaintiff, which involved the false criminal complaint and led to Plaintiff's false arrest. Compl. ¶ ¶ 20-21, 44-45.
The Complaint originally included several other defendants, including Jersey City Police Department, individual police officers, Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, individual prosecutors, State of New Jersey, New Jersey State Police, Jersey Journal, and individual reporters. All defendants besides Defendant Santos have been dismissed. On February 19, 2014, the Court, acting sua sponte, requested briefing as to whether Defendant Santos can be sued as a private actor under Section 1983.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a Complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must take all allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).
Although a Complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, " a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiff's right to relief above a speculative level, such that it is " plausible on its face." See id . at 570; see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Servs., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). A claim has " facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While " [t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility." Id.
While sua sponte dismissal is not a standard practice, it " is not error . . . provided that the complaint affords a sufficient basis for the court's actions." Bryson v. Brand Insulations, Inc., 621 F.2d ...