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Corradi v. New Jersey State Parole Board

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

November 28, 2017

LOUIS CORRADI, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          FREDA L. WOLFSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter has been opened to the Court by Plaintiff's filing of a pro se Complaint alleging violations of his civil rights in connection with his arrest on April 15, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) The Court previously granted Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 9.) As explained in this Memorandum and Order, the Court will proceed the Complaint in part and dismiss it in part pursuant to its screening authority under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Federal law requires this Court to screen Plaintiff's Complaint for sua sponte dismissal prior to service, and to dismiss any claim if that claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and/or to dismiss any defendant who is immune from suit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).[1] The Court construes Plaintiff to seek relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In order to recover under § 1983, a plaintiff must provide facts showing that each defendant, under color of state law, subjected the plaintiff to a deprivation of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the constitution or laws of the United States. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Harvey v. Plains Twp. Police Dep't, 635 F.3d 606, 609 (3d Cir. 2011) (citations omitted).

         At this time, the Court will proceed Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment § 1983 claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and illegal search against Kimberly Cavanaugh and Michelle Rey, as Plaintiff has pleaded adequate facts against these Defendants to suggest that they violated his civil rights.

         The Court, however, will dismiss without prejudice Plaintiff's claims asserting violations of his mother's civil rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that his mother's civil rights were also violated when her home was searched. (ECF No. 1, at 9-10.) A litigant in federal court has a right to act as his or her own counsel. See Osei-Afriyie by Osei-Afriyie v. Med. Coll. of Pennsylvania, 937 F.2d 876, 882 (3d Cir. 1991). It is well settled, however, that a prisoner acting pro se cannot assert claims on behalf of anyone but himself or herself. With respect to the alleged violation(s) of Plaintiff's mother's rights, Plaintiff lacks standing to seek damages on his own behalf because litigants “cannot rest a claim to relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties.” Itiowe v. Robert Wood Johnson Univ. Hosp. Hamilton, 556 Fed.Appx. 124, 125 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Powers v. Ohio, 499 U.S. 400, 410 (1991). Plaintiff also lacks the authority to assert claims on his mother's behalf because a party may not represent another pro se. See Id. (citing Osei-Afriyie, 937 F.2d at 883).

         Plaintiff also appears to allege that the Defendants violated his right under Miranda to be free from custodial interrogation. However, “questioning a plaintiff in custody without providing Miranda warnings is not a basis for a § 1983 claim as long as the plaintiff's statements are not used against [him] at trial.” Renda v. King, 347 F.3d 550, 557-58 (3d Cir. 2003); see also Ojo v. Luong, No. 16-2287, 2017 WL 4022535, at *3 (3d Cir. Sept. 13, 2017) (“it is the use of coerced statements during a criminal trial, and not in obtaining an indictment, that violates the Constitution.”) (citing Renda, 347 F.3d at 559 (emphasis added).[2] Because Plaintiff has not alleged that he made any coerced statements, or that these statements were used against him at trial, the Court will dismiss without prejudice his Miranda claim.

         To the extent Plaintiff is attempting to assert a malicious prosecution claim, he has not adequately pleaded the elements for that claim. To plead a claim for malicious prosecution, a plaintiff must show that (1) the defendants initiated a criminal proceeding; (2) the criminal proceeding ended in plaintiff's favor; (3) the proceeding was initiated without probable cause; (4) the defendants acted maliciously or for a purpose other than bringing the plaintiff to justice; and (5) the plaintiff suffered deprivation of liberty consistent with the concept of seizure as a consequence of a legal proceeding. Kossler v. Crisanti, 564 F.3d 181, 186 (3d Cir. 2009) (quotation marks omitted); see also Malcomb v. McKean, 535 Fed.Appx. 184, 186 (3d Cir. 2013). Here, Plaintiff has stated only that he was arrested without probable cause and “spent over 16 months in custody[.]” (ECF No. 1, at 10.) As such, although he has pleaded elements three and five, he has not adequately pleaded the remaining elements of a malicious prosecution claim.

         The Court will also dismiss without prejudice the § 1983 claims against the remaining individual Defendants - P.O Marquis Barron, P.O. James Perdoni, P.O. Jeffrey Sosnak, P.O. Derek Turnure, P.O. Thomas Hyson, P.O. Michael Nunn, Detective Kevin Lamonte, Officer Melanson, Officer Franchak. Although Plaintiff has included these Defendants in his “List of Defendants”, he has not provided any facts to suggest that these particular Defendants were involved in the alleged wrongs and/or are the unnamed officers mentioned in his “Statement of Claims.” To be individually liable under § 1983, “[a] defendant in a civil rights action must have personal involvement in the alleged wrongs; liability cannot be predicated solely on the operation of respondeat superior.” Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1988); see also C.H. ex rel. Z.H. v. Oliva, 226 F.3d 198, 201 (3d Cir. 2000) (“It is, of course, well established that a defendant in a civil rights case cannot be held responsible for a constitutional violation which he or she neither participated in nor approved.”). At the very least, Plaintiff must plead facts showing these Defendants were involved in the alleged wrongs. The Court will dismiss the § 1983 claims without prejudice against these Defendants.

         The Court will dismiss with prejudice the claims against the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center, [3] Central Reception and Assignment Facility, and the New Jersey State Parole Board, as these Defendants are not persons amenable to suit under § 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64, 70-71 and n. 10 (1989); Bendy v. Ross, No. CIV.A.08-0864(FLW), 2008 WL 2945979, at *3 (D.N.J. July 30, 2008) (citing Madden v. New Jersey State Parole Board, 438 F.2d 1189, 1190 (3d Cir.1971) (stating that New Jersey Parole Board not a person under § 1983)); Duran v. Merline, 923 F.Supp.2d 702, 713, fn. 4 (D.N.J. 2013) (citing Grabow v. Southern State Correctional Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538-39 (D.N.J. 1989) (New Jersey Department of Corrections is not a person under § 1983)); Ingram v. Atl. Cnty. Justice Fac., Civ. No. 10-1375, 2011 WL 65915, *3 (D.N .J. Jan. 7, 2011) (citations omitted) (jail is not a person under section 1983); Andre Simmons v. New Jersey Dep't of Corr., No. CIV.A. 14-7205 FLW, 2015 WL 3488137, at *3 (D.N.J. June 2, 2015) (same).[4]

         Plaintiff may submit an Amended Complaint with respect to the claims the Court has dismissed without prejudice. In this regard, the Court notes that Plaintiff has submitted a number of letters and exhibits in which he purports to supplement his Complaint. (ECF Nos. 10, 11, 13.) These submissions do not comply with the Federal Rules, and the Court will not construe these letters and documents as supplements to Plaintiff's Complaint. Instead, if Plaintiff so chooses, he may, within 30 days of his receipt of this Memorandum and Order, submit one all-inclusive Amended Complaint, which would then supersede the current Complaint.

         IT IS, THEREFORE, on this 28th day of November, 2017, ORDERED that Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment § 1983 claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and illegal search against Kimberly Cavanaugh and Michelle Rey shall PROCEED at this time; and it is further

         ORDERED Plaintiff's claims asserting violations of his mother's civil rights are dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE; and it is further

         ORDERED that Plaintiff's Miranda claim is dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE; and it is further

         ORDERED that Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim is dismissed ...


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