United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ANNETTE L. STEINHARDT, Plaintiff,
BERNARDSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
MICHAEL A. SHIPP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon the motion to dismiss of
Defendants Bernardsville Police Department, Chief Kevin
Valentine, Detective Paul Kelly, Officer Horsey, James
Fowler, Bernardsville Borough Council, Mayor Kevin Sooy,
Judge Miles Winder III and Clerk Sanra Jones
("Defendants"). (ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff Annette L.
Steinhardt ("Plaintiff) did not file opposition to
Defendants' motion. Rather, Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 16.) Defendants filed correspondence
indicating that the Amended Complaint was not filed within
the twenty-one day time frame provided by Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(B). (ECF No. 19.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only 'a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ' in order to 'give the defendant
fair notice of what the .. . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.'" Bell Atl Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). On a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim, the "defendant bears the
burden of showing that no claim has been presented."
Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir.
2005). A district court is to conduct a three-part analysis
when considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. See
Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011).
"First, the court must 'tak[e] note of the elements
a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'"
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal 556 U.S.
662, 675 (2009)) (alteration in original). Second, the court
must "review the complaint to strike conclusory
allegations[.]" Id. The court must accept as
true all of the plaintiffs well-pleaded factual allegations
and '"construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff" Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation
omitted). Finally, the court must determine whether "the
facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that
the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for
relief."' Id. at 211 (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
original Complaint fails to state a claim pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and, accordingly, the Court
finds good cause to grant Defendants' motion to dismiss.
In addition, the Court recognizes that Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint, albeit out of time. Plaintiff however,
filed documents that contain factual allegations after she
filed the Amended Complaint. (See, e.g., ECF No.
24.) Plaintiff also filed correspondence requesting the Court
to enter items into evidence. (See, e.g., ECF Nos.
25, 27-29.) Significantly, at this stage of the litigation,
courts must evaluate the sufficiency of a complaint's
allegations. In order to determine whether alleged facts are
sufficient to show that Plaintiff has a "plausible claim
for relief, " therefore, the allegations in the
complaint must be well-pled as to each Defendant. As
specifically provided in the Court's filing instructions:
State as briefly as possible the facts of your case.
Describe how each defendant was personally
involved in the alleged wrongful action, along with
the dates and locations ol all relevant
events You may wish to include further details such as
the names of other persons involved in the events giving rise
to your claims. Do not cite any cases or statutes. If more
than one claim is asserted, number each claim and write a
short and plain statement of each claim in a separate
paragraph. Attach additional pages if needed.
(Pro Se 15 (Rev. 12/16) Complaint for Violation of Civil
Rights (Non-Prisoner) (emphasis added).) Here, because
Plaintiff set forth allegations in the Amended Complaint and
various items of supplemental correspondence, the Court finds
good cause to permit Plaintiff to file a Second Amended
Complaint that complies with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, District Court of New Jersey's Local Civil
Rules, and the Court's specific filing instructions.
Should Plaintiff fail to file a Second Amended Complaint,
Plaintiffs Amended Complaint will serve as the operative
pleading in this matter.
on the Court's inherent power to control the matters on
its docket, in the interests of justice, and for other good
cause shown, IT IS on this 12th day of January
2018, ORDERED that:
Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 8) is granted.
Plaintiff may file a Second Amended Complaint by
February 16, 2018. If Plaintiff fails to
file a Second Amended Complaint by February 16, 2018, the
Amended Complaint (ECF No. ...