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Wife v. Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 8, 2015

JOHN GREER and MARY GREER Husband and Wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, DETECTIVE FRANCINE WEBB, NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE, NEW JERSEY STATE TROOPER I.J. BOLAND, JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.

JOSEPH M. CHIARELLO, JACOB & CHIARELLO, MILLVILLE, NJ, On behalf of plaintiffs.

LINDA A. GALELLA, RICHARDSON, GALELLA & AUSTERMUHL, SUITE B, WOODBURY, NJ, On behalf of Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office and Detective Francine Webb.

ROSHAN DEVEN SHAH, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, TRENTON, NJ, On behalf of New Jersey State Police and New Jersey State Trooper I.J. Boland.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

This case involves allegations that a search warrant was executed at the wrong address. Presently before the Court are the motions of defendants to dismiss plaintiffs' claims against them. For the reasons expressed below, defendants' motions will be granted.

BACKGROUND

According to their amended complaint, on April 19, 2012, plaintiffs, John and Mary Greer, were residing at 726 Whitaker Avenue in Millville, New Jersey. Plaintiffs claim that defendants, the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office (CCPO), CCPO Detective Francine Webb, the New Jersey State Police, and New Jersey State Police Trooper I.J. Boland, executed a search warrant on their home, instead of 762 Whitaker Avenue. As a result of the improper search, plaintiffs claim that their property was destroyed, they were subject to wrongful arrest, and they suffered physical and emotional injuries as a result of defendants' excessive force and negligence.

Plaintiff filed the instant suit against defendants for negligence and "excessive force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983."[1] Defendants have moved to dismiss plaintiffs' claims. Plaintiffs have opposed their motions.

DISCUSSION

A. Subject matter jurisdiction

Defendants removed plaintiffs' case to this Court, which has jurisdiction over plaintiffs' federal claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

B. Standard for Motion to Dismiss

When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, "[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'" Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) ("Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for all civil actions'...."); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) ("Iqbal... provides the final nail-in-the-coffin for the no set of facts' standard that applied to federal complaints before Twombly."). Following the Twombly/Iqbal standard, the Third Circuit has instructed a two-part analysis in reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated; a district court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210 (citing Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950). Second, a district court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief.'" Id. (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950). A complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. Id.; see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (stating that the "Supreme Court's Twombly formulation of the ...


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