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McDowell v. Buena Vista State Police Department

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 11, 2015

RANDY McDOWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
BUENA VISTA STATE POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

Randy McDowell, Mays Landing, NJ, Plaintiff pro se.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Randy McDowell, a prisoner confined at Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey, seeks to bring this civil action in forma pauperis, without prepayment of fees or security, asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Based on his affidavit of indigence and the absence of three qualifying dismissals within 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), the Court will grant Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and will order the Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint.[1]

At this time, the Court must review the Complaint 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 such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). Because Plaintiff's submission is devoid of factual allegations, the Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief will be granted. However, Plaintiff shall be given leave to file an amended complaint.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff provides little factual information in his Complaint. It is unclear why Plaintiff is incarcerated or the duration of his incarceration. Additionally, he does not explain the charges against him or the status of those charges. In the Complaint, Plaintiff simply alleges that he was wrongfully accused of involvement in an unspecified criminal case and he complains that his name was released to the press. No dates are provided.

Although Plaintiff captions his case as against the Buena Vista State Police Department, in the body of his Complaint Plaintiff names as defendants: (1) Detective George of the Buena Vista Police Department; (2) Tone Cruz, who Plaintiff states is a manager at Vineland storage; and (3) Ms. Tylore. Plaintiff requests relief in the form of having his name cleared in the news and monetary damages in an unspecified amount for pain and suffering.

II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

Every complaint must comply with the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted).

While a complaint... does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the "grounds" of his "entitle[ment] to relief" requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level....

Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted).

That is, a complaint must assert "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "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 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The determination of whether the factual allegations plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.'" Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d 352, 365 (3d Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). Thus, a court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, " and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations omitted).

In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to accept its factual allegations as true, see James v. City of Wilkes-Barre, 700 F.3d 675, 679 (3d Cir. 2012), and to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. ...


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