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Keen v. United States Government Agency, DEA CIA, FBI, Homeland Security

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 30, 2018


          JARED LOUIS KEEN 307 MCCLELLAN RD. EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. 08234 Appearing pro se

          THOMAS M. KELLY STEVEN J. WIEDERHORN FAUST, GOETZ, SCHENKER & BLEE On behalf of Defendant City of Casa Grande


          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff, Jared Louis Keen, appearing pro se, has filed a complaint against several United States Government agencies, the City of Tucson, the City of Casa Grande, Florence Federal Penitentiary, the United States Government, President Donald J. Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Judge Nancy Hodges, and Court Clerk William T. Walsh; and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff's handwritten complaint is mostly unintelligible, but from what the Court can decipher, it appears that Plaintiff claims that his First and Thirteenth Amendment rights were violated in late 2016 and early 2017 in Casa Grande, Arizona when he was detained at gunpoint by seven officers for going into the wrong door of a building, and then detained in the Florence correctional facility for several hours without food and water or any charges being brought against him, and his car was illegally towed; and

         WHEREAS, Defendant City of Casa Grande has filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for improper service, [1] failure to state a claim, and improper venue (Docket No. 8); and

         WHEREAS, in response to Casa Grande's motion, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, which does not contain any claims against Casa Grande, or the City of Tucson or Florence Federal Penitentiary (Docket No. 11);[2] and

         WHEREAS, pro se complaints must be construed liberally, and all reasonable latitude must be afforded the pro se litigant, Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976), but pro se litigants “must still plead the essential elements of [their] claim and [are] not excused from conforming to the standard rules of civil procedure, ” see McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”); Sykes v. Blockbuster Video, 205 F. App'x 961, 963 (3d Cir. 2006) (finding that pro se plaintiffs are expected to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure); and

         WHEREAS, because Plaintiff's amended complaint does not name Casa Grande, the City of Tucson, and the Florence Federal Penitentiary or contain any claims against them, and because the amended complaint is now the operative pleading, see Snyder v. Pascack Valley Hospital, 303 F.3d 271, 276 (3d Cir. 2002) (providing that the amended complaint supersedes the original version in providing the blueprint for the future course of a lawsuit), the amended complaint evidences Plaintiff's intent to relinquish his claims against these three defendants[3]; and

         WHEREAS, the Court will therefore dismiss those three Defendants from the action, [4] and deny as moot Casa Grande's Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(i) (“[T]he plaintiff may dismiss an action without a court order by filing . . . (i) a notice of dismissal before the opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for summary judgment.”).motion to dismiss; and

         WHEREAS, with regard to the content of Plaintiff's amended complaint, the Court finds that in addition to it being almost as unintelligible as his original complaint, Plaintiff's amended complaint is deficient because:

         1. Plaintiff has failed to state this Court's subject matter jurisdiction over his action, whether it is based on a federal question, or whether it is based on diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy in excess of $75, 000, see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332;

         2. Plaintiff has failed to state a specific legal basis for his claims - he requests the return of his $400 filing fee and damages in the amount of $420, 000 because, as best the Court can tell, he was not provided with a paralegal to assist him, he was not provided a hearing date, and he was not permitted to speak to the Clerk of the Court - but he fails to specify whether his claims sound, for example, in contract or tort, and he also fails to specify what laws Defendants allegedly violated, which is necessary to establish subject matter jurisdiction, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) (“A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction.”); see also Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co. v. Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir. 2010) (providing that federal courts have an independent obligation to address issues of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte and may do so at any stage of the litigation); and

         3. On that same basis, Plaintiff's amended complaint fails to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), and the pleading standards required by Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (directing that a court must (1) separate the factual and legal elements of a claim, (2) accept all of the complaint's well pleaded facts as true, (3) disregard any legal conclusions, and (4) ...

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