United States District Court, D. New Jersey
plaintiff, Steven Brown, was a pretrial detainee at the
Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey when he commenced
this action. He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights
complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and
1986. This Court previously granted Mr. Brown leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, (ECF No. 2.)
Court must now review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A 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
suit. For the following reasons, the complaint will be
dismissed without prejudice.
allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for
the purposes of this opinion. The complaint names five
defendants: (1) James Rauth; (2) Steven Tallard; (3)
Alexander J. Falbo; (4) David Thomas; and (5) James Plousis.
All five defendants are officers, supervisors, or executives
with the New Jersey State Parole Board.
Brown claims that the defendants violated his constitutional
rights between June 7, 2012 and June 15, 2012. Mr. Brown was
previously convicted of a sexual offense and was arrested for
violating the terms of his supervised release. Mr. Brown
alleges that the defendants conspired to violate his
constitutional rights to due process and equal protection by
illegally searching some of his items, specifically several
computer devices. Mr. Brown's complaint also seems to
assert state-law claims for infliction of emotional distress.
Mr. Brown seeks compensatory and punitive damages from
defendants, as well as attorneys' fees.
plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights.
That section provides,
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial
officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's
judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted
unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory
relief was unavailable.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege, first, the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and
second, that the alleged deprivation was committed or caused
by a person acting under color of state law. See Harvey
v. Plains Twp. Police Dep't, 635 F.3d 606, 609 (3d
Cir. 2011) (citations omitted); see also West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
separate cause of action for a conspiracy to deprive a person
of constitutional or legal rights exists under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1985. Stating such a claim requires a plaintiff to
plead four elements:
(1) a conspiracy; (2) for the purpose of depriving, either
directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the
equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and
immunity under the laws; and (3) an act in furtherance of the
conspiracy; (4) whereby a person is either injured in his
person or property or deprived of any right or privilege of a
citizen of the United States.
United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am. v.
463 U.S. 825, 828-29 (1983); see 42
U.S.C. § 1985(3). To establish that the conspiracy's
purpose was to deprive a person of equal protection of the
laws, the plaintiff must show that it was motivated by
discriminatory animus as to race, gender, or some other
class. Griffin v. Breckenridge,403 U.S. 88, 102
(1971). Under 42 U.S.C. § 1986, a plaintiff may assert a
distinct action against a defendant who knew of a § 1985
conspiracy, had the power to prevent it, and failed to do so.
42 U.S.C. § 1986; see also Adickes v. S ...