United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MCNULTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiffs, Sharon Chavis and her daughter Mya Chavis, seek
injunctive relief and damages against the defendants, Jersey
City Medical Center ("JCMC"), Meadowview
Psychiatric Hospital ("Meadowview"), former
Governor Chris Christie, and the State of New Jersey. After
an altercation with some relatives, Sharon Chavis was
admitted as a patient to JCMC, and shortly thereafter
transferred to Meadowview. Plaintiffs allege that the
defendants have violated several New Jersey and federal laws
concerning the treatment of patients and disabled people. All
of the defendants have moved to dismiss. I have liberally
construed the allegations of these pro se
plaintiffs, but nevertheless I must grant the motions to
Chavis suffered a "minute and temporary" mental
breakdown after an altercation with one of her daughters,
Karen Chavis, and that daughter's boyfriend, Darryl
Medina, over the treatment of the grandchildren.
Sharon was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center
for physical and mental trauma. (Cplt. § 2; see
also Pl. Opp. at 16.) The complaint alleges that Karen
retaliated against her mother by telling JCMC a fabricated
story that Sharon was responsible for starting two fires.
Sharon's other daughter and plaintiff in this case, went
to JCMC to visit her mother (Id. § 3.) On the
morning of March 30, 2017, a nurse informed Mya that the
hospital had released Sharon's information to
Sharon's brother and could not release it to them.
(Id.) Sharon has no brother. (Id.) Mya
claims she was eventually able to figure out from a stranger
at JCMC that her mother had been transferred to Meadowview
the previous day, March 29, 2017. (Id.) At some
point (die complaint is unclear as to when), a transfer from
Meadowview to Kings Adult Care Center in Brooklyn, New York,
was requested, but denied.
Standard of Review
Civ. P. 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint,
in whole or in part, if it fails to state claim upon which
relief can be granted. The defendants, as the moving parties,
each bear the burden of showing that no claim has been stated
against them. Animal Science Products, Inc. v. China
Minmetals Corp., 654 F.3d 462, 469 n.9 (3d Cir. 2011).
For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in
the complaint are accepted as true and all reasonable
inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. N.J.
Carpenters & the Trustees Thereof v. Tishman Const. Corp.
of N.J., 760 F.3d 297, 302 (3d Cir. 2014).
when plaintiffs proceed pro se and without counsel,
the complaint is to be "liberally construed, " and,
"however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
93-94 (2007). Nevertheless, “pro se litigants
still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to
support a claim." Mala v. Crown Bay Marina,
Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013). "While a
litigant's pro se status requires a court to
construe the allegations in the complaint liberally, a
litigant is not absolved from complying with Twombly
and the federal pleading requirements merely because s/he
proceeds pro se." Thakar v. Tan, 372 Fed.Appx.
325, 328 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).
Request for Injunctive Relief
request injunctive relief repeatedly throughout the
Complaint. However, they never explicitly state what form the
injunctive relief should take or identify the persons against
whom it should be ordered. This is of some concern because
many of the alleged actions were not taken by or connected to
some of the named defendants in the case (in particular,
former Governor Chris Christie and the State of New
nearest the Complaint comes to requesting such relief is the
request by plaintiffs that "[Sharon Chavis] be
immediately removed from the jurisdiction of both hospitals[,
] Jersey City Medical Center [and] Meadowview Psychiatric
Hospital[, ] as there is no legally substantiated reason why
she is being held there." (Cplt. § 16.) She seeks
this relief under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized
Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et
seq. I will interpret this as a request for injunctive
relief against JCMC and Meadowview in the form of a court
order mandating Sharon Chavis's release from either of
III of the United States Constitution limits the
jurisdictional authority granted to district courts to those
cases and controversies that are actual and ongoing.
Borough of Avalon v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs,
No. 16-8057, 2017 WL 3917138, at *3 (D.N.J. Sept. 7, 2017)
(citing Khodara Envtl, Inc. ex rel. Eagle Envtl, L.P. v.
Beckman, 237 F.3d 186, 192-93 (3d Cir. 2001)). If the
issues presented in a case are no longer "live, "
the case is moot, and for an issue to be considered
"live" there must be a real and substantial
controversy between the parties that could be resolved
through specific relief granted by the court. Id.
(citing Old Bridge Owners Coop. Corp. v. Twp. of Old
Bridge, 246 F.3d 310, 314 (3d Cir. 2001)). Putting aside
whether the scheme under CRIPA is applicable in this case, I
must first consider whether I have the authority to order the
defendants to release Sharon.
plaintiffs' own admission, even at the time of the filing
of the complaint, Sharon had been transferred out of JCMC.
Even when she was there, it appears that she was not under
any restraints and was free to leave. (Cplt. § 2
("The Plaintiff Sharon Chavis was seen and evaluated by
Jersey City Medical Center Psychiatrist and Social Worker
where she [was] verbally told that she was fit to be released
by Jersey City Medical Center Medical Doctors. Plaintiff
Sharon Chavis was then advised that she ...