United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
OPINION [Dkt. Nos. 6, 7, 14, 15, 17]
MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon a Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint filed by defendants Mayor
Daniel Teefy (improperly pled as Teefy Daniel), Municipal
Court Judge Nicholas Lacovara; Municipal Prosecutor Charles
Fiore; Marcella Carter, Administrative Assistant to the Chief
of Police; John McKeown, Monroe Township Police
Chief; the Monroe Township Police Department; and its
Internal Affairs Unit (collectively, the
“Defendants”). [Dkt. No. 15]. Defendants seek to
dismiss all counts of pro se plaintiff Christiana
Itiowe's (the “Plaintiff”) Amended Complaint
in which Plaintiff alleges (1) violations of the First,
Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States
Constitution pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) violation
of 42 U.S.C. §2000b-2; (3) violations of Title 10 of
NJSA; (4) and violations of several New Jersey
criminal statutes. For the reasons set forth below, the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss shall be
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court must
liberally construe her Complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (“[H]owever
inartfully pleaded, ” the “allegations of a pro
se complaint [are held] to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]”). Even
construing Plaintiff's Complaint very liberally, it is
extremely difficult to comprehend. The facts below are those
that the Court could make out from Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint, and are accepted as true for the purposes of this
review. Beyond these facts, Plaintiff makes sweeping
allegations about her rights being violated without
specifying in what way or by whom.
alleges that on March 13, 2016, while in line at the Walmart
store located at 1840 Black Horse Pike, Williamstown, New
Jersey, a Walmart employee and another Walmart customer
behaved inappropriately, in a “racist like”
manner towards her, leading to a verbal altercation. (Am.
Compl. at 7, ¶ 1). As a result of this altercation, a
Walmart employee called the police. (Id. at 7,
¶ 2). Monroe Township Police Officer Roy Pierson was
dispatched to the store and, ultimately, Plaintiff was asked
to leave. (Id. at 7, ¶ 2-3).
way out of the store, Plaintiff alleges, she realized she had
forgotten the bag containing the items she purchased.
(Id. at 8, ¶ 1). Plaintiff claims that upon
realizing this, she turned back toward the registers, at
which time Officer Pierson “made a hand gesture”
and “acted like . . . [he] was going to grab”
her. (Id.) Because of “psychological
damage” and a fear of police, Plaintiff responded to
this gesture by asking Officer Pierson - in profane language
- not to touch her. (Id. at 8, ¶ 2). At that
point, Plaintiff alleges that Officer Pierson “went
crazy . . . attacking” her, including body-slamming her
to the ground head first, which caused Plaintiff to lose two
of her teeth. (Id. at 8, ¶ 3). Officer Pierson
then arrested Plaintiff.
her arrest, Plaintiff alleges that several of the Defendants
participated in a vague conspiracy against her. (Id.
at 9, ¶ 2). She alleges, without any factual support,
that the Monroe Township Police Department filed malicious
and frivolous criminal complaints against her (Id.);
Municipal Prosecutor Fiore maliciously prosecuted her
(Id.); and that Municipal Court Judge Lacovara
improperly denied motions she filed, refused to dismiss the
criminal case against her, and threatened her with contempt
of court (Id. at 9, ¶ 3). It is unclear from
the Amended Complaint what Mayor Daniel Teefy, Chief John
McKeown, or the Internal Affairs Unit of the Monroe Township
Police Department are accused of doing.
commenced this action on October 24, 2016, alleging
violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of
the United States Constitution, along with several New Jersey
statutory violations and false imprisonment and false arrest
claims against the city of Williamstown, New Jersey; its
Mayor Daniel Teefy; Monroe Township Municipal Court Judge
Nicholas Lacovara; Municipal Prosecutor Charles Fiore;
Marcella Carter, Administrative Assistant to the Chief of
Police; the Monroe Township Police Department; and its
Internal Affairs Unit. [Dkt. No. 1]. On December 19, 2016,
Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint [Dkt.
No. 7]. On December 30, 2016, Plaintiff sought leave to amend
her Complaint [Dkt. No. 10], which this Court granted [Dkt.
No. 12], and Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on February
15, 2017 [Dkt. No. 13]. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
contained only one change, adding Chief John McKeown as a
defendant in place of Marcella Carter.
March 1, 2017, Defendants again moved to dismiss each of
Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
[Dkt. No. 15]. Plaintiff filed a letter in response to
Defendants' Motion on March 13, 2017 [Dkt. No. 19].
Defendant also filed letters with the Court on March 20, 2017
[Dkt. No. 21, 22], April 12, 2017 [Dkt. No. 23], and May 3,
2017 [Dkt. No. 24] reiterating her incomprehensible
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face'” in order to withstand a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Claims are facially plausible “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged, ” and “an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation” will not
survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at 663, 678.
“[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.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286
district court “must accept as true all well-pled
factual allegations as well as all reasonable inferences that
can be drawn from them, and construe those allegations in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff” when reviewing a
plaintiff's allegations. Bistrian v. Levi, 696
F.3d 352 n. 1 (3d Cir. 2012). Only the allegations in the
complaint, and “matters of public record, orders,
exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the
record of the case” are taken into consideration.
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