United States District Court, D. New Jersey
matter comes before the Court on separate motions of two
groups of defendants to dismiss the complaint in this removed
action for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). ("Cplt.", ECF no. 1 at 5} For the reasons
stated below, the motions will be granted in part and denied
September 21, 2016, the Complaint was filed in Superior Court
of New Jersey, Essex County, as ESX-L-006250-16. On October
4, 2016, the County of Essex filed a notice of removal to
this Court. (ECF no. 1) Removal was based upon the
Complaint's allegations of a violation of federal law, 42
U.S.C. § 1983; the notice invoked the Court's
federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
See also 28 U.S.C. § 1343. No other defendant
objected, and no motion for remand has been made.
allegations of the Complaint, assumed to be true for purposes
of these Rule 12(b)(6) motions, are as follows:
plaintiff, Hamilton Verano, is a resident of Newark who was
under probation supervision at the time of the events related
in the Complaint. On August 8, 2014, the Hon. Siobhan A.
Teare, J.S.C., entered an order of violation of probation and
issued a bench warrant (no. 14-4988) for the arrest of
Verano. On September 8, 2014, Verano was arrested and taken
to the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. Aside
from the bench warrant, there was no basis for his detention.
On September 12, 2014, Verano appeared in court. At the
conclusion of the hearing, Judge Teare ordered that probation
be terminated and that all fines, fees, penalties, and
assessments be turned over to collections. (Cplt.
clear implication of the allegations is that Mr. Verano
should have been released from custody at that time. On an
unspecified date, the Superior Court of New Jersey
"issued a status change notice to the plaintiffs jailers
indicating that he was to be released." (Cplt. ¶
15) "Nevertheless, and for no explicable reason, the
plaintiff was held at the Essex County Correctional facility
an extra nineteen (19) days and he was finally released on
October 1, 2014." (Cplt. ¶ 17)
Complaint asserts four causes of action for damages:
Count 1 - 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (false arrest and
imprisonment without probable cause or due process/MoneH
liability against government defendants)
Count 2 - N.J. Civil Rights Act ("NJCRA"), N.J.
Stat. Ann. § 10:6-1, N.J. Const, art. I, ¶¶ 5
& 7 (false arrest and imprisonment without probable cause
or due process/ Monell liability against government
Count 3 - New Jersey Tort Claims Act ("NJTCA"),
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 59:2-2 (Negligence/respondeat
Count 4 - Demand for punitive damages.
"State Defendants" (State of New Jersey,
Administrative Office of the Courts, Superior Court of New
Jersey, and Essex County Probation Division) have filed a
motion to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim,
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (ECF no. 15) The County of
Essex has likewise filed a motion to dismiss (incorrectly
deemed a "cross-motion"), essentially joining in
the State Defendants' motion and briefly supplementing
the arguments. (ECF no. 17)
Civ. P. 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint,
in whole or in part, if it 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, 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 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v.
Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998);
see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) ("reasonable inferences"
principle not undermined by later Supreme Court case of
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
Civ. P. 8(a) does not require that a complaint contain
detailed factual allegations. Nevertheless, "a
plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Bell Atl Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the factual
allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiffs 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. Seru., 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 (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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (2009).