United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. Wolfson United States District Court
the Court is the proposed Amended Complaint of Plaintiff,
Ramon Andrew Clark. (ECF Nos. 12-14). Plaintiff has
previously been granted in forma pauperis status in
this matter. This Court is required to screen Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Under this statute, this Court must dismiss Plaintiff's
claims if they are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, or seek monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune. For the reasons
explained below, this Court will dismiss Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint in its entirety, for failure to state a
claim, and grant Plaintiff 30 days to submit a final amended
filed his initial complaint in this matter in August 2015,
attempting to raise claims for false arrest, false
imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander and
“false claims.” (ECF No. 1). Following a grant of
in forma pauperis status, this Court screened
Plaintiff's Complaint and dismissed it in its entirety,
as Plaintiff's federal and state law claims failed to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (ECF Nos.
9-10). This Court then granted Plaintiff 45 days within which
to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 22). On December 8,
2016 and December 9, 2016, the Clerk's Office received
certain pages from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. On
December 23, 2016, after a complete Second Amended Complaint
was received, the Clerk's Office docketed it.
(See ECF Nos. 12-14). Because courts are required to
liberally construe pleadings drafted by pro se
parties, see Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704
F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing McNeil v. United
States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993)), this Court will
construe the allegations of Plaintiff's two filings
together. However, Plaintiff is cautioned that in the future
he must submit one all-inclusive pleading.
his original Complaint, the Plaintiff provides scant facts in
his Amended Complaint. He provides his date of arrest on February
14, 2012, the charges brought against him, and the date of
his acquittal on October 30, 2013. (ECF No. 14 at 6-7). He
states that he remained in prison during this entire period.
Id. Plaintiff also states that he is bringing claims
for “false claims - false imprisonment, harassment,
defamation of character because with no evidence, no photo
line-up[, ] no fingerprints, no weapons, and deined[sic]
moitions[sic] my lawyer put in for suppress evidence and
dismisses[sic].” (ECF No. 13 at 1). Plaintiff provides
no other facts in support of his claims. Plaintiff requests
monetary damages as relief.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
district courts are required to review civil actions in which
a prisoner proceeds in forma pauperis. See
28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). When reviewing such actions, the
PLRA instructs courts to dismiss cases that are at any time
frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief
may be granted, or seek monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune. Id. “The legal standard for
dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as that for
dismissing a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane v. Seana, 506
Fed.Appx. 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Allah v.
Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000).
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the
applicable provisions of the PLRA apply to the screening of
his Amended Complaint. “To survive a motion to dismiss,
a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “A pleading
that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.'” Id. In to survive a
dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint must
allege “sufficient factual matter to show that the
claim is facially plausible.” Fowler v. UPMS
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation omitted). “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.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Furthermore, while pro se pleadings are
liberally construed, they “still must allege sufficient
facts in their complaints to support a claim.”
Mala, 704 F.3d at 245.
42, section 1983 of the United States Code provides a cause
of action for the violation of constitutional rights by a
person acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. §
1983. To recover under this provision, two elements must be
shown. First, a plaintiff “must establish that the
defendant acted under color of state law, ” and second,
that the plaintiff has been deprived of “a right
secured by the Constitution.” Malleus v.
George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988)). Here, the
Court construes the Complaint as raising § 1983 claims
for false imprisonment against the Philipsburg Police
Department and Defendant Cox, and for malicious prosecution
against Defendant Cox. The Court also construes the Complaint
as raising state law claims for harassment and defamation
against Defendant Cox. The Court will first address the
Claims Against Defendants Not Amenable to Suit under §
Court has previously dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's
§ 1983 claims against the Phillipsburg Police Department
because “a municipal police department is not an entity
separate from the municipality” and noted that the
Plaintiff did not “sue the municipality under a
Monell theory of liability.” (ECF No. 9 at 5).
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint does not provide any facts
to suggest that the municipality is liable under
Monell. Therefore, this Court will again dismiss
with prejudice the § 1983 claim against the
Philipsburg Police Department.
Claims for False Imprisonment and Malicious Prosecution