United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER United States District Judge
Kimberly Ann Richardson filed this complaint against her
probation officers Grace Kimbrough and Caroline Parsons-Kane,
and Detectives Stephen Cittadini and Thomas LaRosa. Currently
pending before this Court is the detectives' motion to
dismiss. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss
will be granted.
Court recites the facts in the light most favorable to
plaintiff. On August 27, 2015, Ms. Richardson reported to Ms.
Kimbrough's office. A GPS device was installed on Ms.
Richardson's vehicle while Ms. Richardson was in with Ms.
Kimbrough. Ms. Parsons-Kane was aware of the installation and
called one of the officers when Ms. Richardson left the
Probation Office. Neither Ms. Parsons-Kane nor Ms. Kimbrough
informed Ms. Richardson there was a warrant for her arrest.
Richardson was arrested on September 1, 2015 by Detectives
Cittadini and LaRosa. She states they did not show her the
warrant for her arrest or for the search of her car and motel
room. They did not permit her to retrieve her identification,
eyeglasses, cellphone, or keys from inside her motel room. A
little over a year later, Ms. Richardson filed the complaint
asking the Court to compensate her for the value of her car
and the items inside her car and room.
now move for dismissal of the complaint under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Ms. Richardson filed a one-page
letter in opposition to the motion.
considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to
state a claim, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept
all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and
view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. A motion to dismiss may be granted only if the
plaintiff has failed to set forth fair notice of what the
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests that make such a
claim plausible on its face. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Although Rule 8 does not
require “detailed factual allegations, ” it
requires “more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
“tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead
to state a claim. Second, it should identify allegations
that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth. Finally, [w]hen there
are well-pleaded factual allegations, [the] court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016) (alterations in original) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted).
Fourth Amendment provides: “The right of the people to
be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable
cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or
things to be seized.” U.S. Const. amend IV. The
placement of a GPS device on a vehicle is a search within the
meaning of the Fourth Amendment. United States v.
Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012).
Richardson alleges Detective Cittadini “was involved
with installing [the] GPS device” on her vehicle.
However, the document attached to her complaint indicates the
device was installed by a detective from the Burlington
County Prosecutor's Office. In addition to there being no
allegation that the GPS device was installed without a
warrant, there are no facts in the complaint indicating how
Detective Cittadini participated in the installation.
“A defendant in a civil rights action must have
personal involvement in the alleged wrongs . . . . Personal
involvement can be shown through allegations of personal
direction or of actual knowledge and acquiescence.
Allegations of participation or actual knowledge and
acquiescence, however, must be made with appropriate
particularity.” Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845