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Novack v. Burlington County College

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 6, 2018

STUART NOVACK, NISAN NOVACK, and HELIDA NOVACK, Plaintiffs,
v.
BURLINGTON COUNTY COLLEGE, Defendant.

          STUART NOVACK, APPEARING PRO SE, NISAN NOVACK, APPEARING PRO SE, HELIDA NOVACK, APPEARING PRO SE

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         WHEREAS Plaintiffs Stuart Novack, Nisan Novack, and Helida Novack, appearing pro se, filed a complaint on November 16, 2016 against Defendant Burlington County College; and

         WHEREAS Plaintiffs claim they were subject to “age discrimination, ” “handicap discrimination, ” and “religious discrimination”; and

         WHEREAS Plaintiffs have filed an application to proceed without prepayment of fees (“in forma pauperis” or “IFP” application), and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a court may allow a litigant to proceed without prepayment of fees if he submits a proper IFP application; and

         WHEREAS, although § 1915 refers to “prisoners, ” federal courts apply § 1915 to non-prisoner IFP applications, Hickson v. Mauro, No. 11-6304, 2011 WL 6001088, at *1 (D.N.J. Nov. 30, 2011) (citing Lister v. Dep't of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir. 2005)); Lister, 408 F.3d at 1312 (“Section 1915(a) applies to all persons applying for IFP status, and not just to prisoners.”); and

         WHEREAS the screening provisions of the IFP statute require a federal court to dismiss an action sua sponte if, among other things, the action is frivolous or malicious, or if it fails to comply with the proper pleading standards, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); Martin v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Security, No. 17-3129, 2017 WL 3783702, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 30, 2017) (“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.”); 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, ” 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 Plaintiffs have not proffered any facts or allegations regarding the basis for their complaint, apart from stating the events occurred from September 2012 to present at Burlington County College, see generally Baldwin Cty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (“Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings ‘give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957))); and

         WHEREAS Plaintiffs have further not stated how they were injured nor requested any particular relief from this Court, see id.; and WHEREAS the Court therefore finds Plaintiffs' complaint is deficient; and

         THEREFORE, IT IS on this 6th day of February, 2018

         ORDERED that Plaintiffs' IFP application (Docket No. 1-2) is hereby GRANTED, and the Clerk is directed to file Plaintiffs' complaint; and it is further

         ORDERED that Plaintiffs' complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE in its entirety; and it is further

         ORDERED that Plaintiffs may move to reopen their case within twenty days from the date of this Order, attaching to any such motion a proposed amended complaint[1] which addresses the deficiencies of the original complaint as described herein; and it ...


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