Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Plaza v. Bergen County Sheriff

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 18, 2016

RONALD PLAZA, Plaintiff,


          WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Ronald Plaza brings this action against Bergen County Sherriff (“Defendant”), Bergen County Prosecutor (“Prosecutor”), Hackensack University Medical Center (“Hackensack”), and other unnamed individuals and entities, alleging violations of Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J.S.A. § 10:6-1, et seq., and intentional infliction of emotional distress. This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to 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, Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff currently resides at Westchester Correctional Facility in Valhalla, New York. The parties stipulated to the dismissal of Defendants Hackensack and Prosecutor. See ECF Nos. 4 & 8. The only remaining Defendant, therefore, is Bergen County Sheriff.

         Plaintiff alleges that on June 4, 2015, while in the care and custody of Defendant, an unidentified individual or individuals under Defendant's employ assaulted him. See Compl. ¶¶ 12-13, ECF No. 1. “The assault included, but was not limited to, being forced to endure pepper spray into the face and anus.” Id. at ¶14. Plaintiff claims that he “presented no threat and posed no danger to the defendants while in their custody” and that he “was traumatized, terrified and feared for his life” during the assault. Id. at ¶¶ 16-17.

         Plaintiff's Complaint alleges four remaining counts against Defendant Bergen County Sherriff in connection with the purported use of excessive force:

(1) Count 1: Defendant intentionally permitted the assault of Plaintiff and there were “no safeguards, procedures, or other protocols in place” to protect him, see id. at ¶¶ 19-21;
(2) Count 2: Defendant “did not properly screen, hire, train, re-train or supervise its employees” and, therefore, “engaged in customs, policies, usages, practices, procedures and rules which constituted deliberate indifference to the safety and well-being of Plaintiff, ” see id. at ¶¶ 22-25;
(3) Count 4: Defendant's conduct violated the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (“NJCRA”), N.J.S.A. § 10:6-1, et seq., see id. at ¶¶ 31-33;
(4) Count 5: Defendant intentionally and willfully caused infliction of emotional distress on Plaintiff, see id. at ¶¶ 34-36; and

         Defendant now moves for the dismissal of all claims, arguing mainly that the Complaint fails to state a plausible claim of liability because it does not allege a specific custom or policy that caused Plaintiff's injury. See Br. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss Compl. (“Def.'s Br.”) 7-8, ECF No. 5-1. Defendant also argues that the Complaint fails to state that Defendant, in her or his individual capacity, personally participated in the alleged conduct. See id. at 8-10. Defendant further argues that Plaintiff's NJCRA claim is coextensive of his §§ 1983 and 1985 claims, which warrants dismissal for the same reasons. Id. at 11. Finally, Defendant argues that the Court should decline jurisdiction over the NJCRA and state tort law claims upon dismissal of the federal claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). Id. at 11-12.

         The Court notes that the motion is unopposed. Defendant filed the motion on July 21, 2017. Thereafter, counsel for Plaintiff requested that the Court carry the motion forward two motion cycles due to the withdrawal of his representation and subsequent appearance of substitute counsel on Plaintiff's behalf. See ECF Nos. 7 & 9. Substitution occurred on September 8, 2017, affording new counsel ample time to respond prior to the motion's return date, which was October 2, 2017. See ECF No. 10. Nonetheless, counsel never responded.


         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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.