United States District Court, D. New Jersey
J. GENTES MALAMUT & ASSOCIATES, LLC On behalf of
MICHAEL BARKER BARKER, GELFAND & JAMES LINWOOD GREENE On
behalf of Defendants.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
matter concerns claims by Plaintiff that Middle Township, New
Jersey police officers used excessive force during a traffic
stop. Presently before the Court is the motion of Defendants
“Middle Township Mayor and Governing Body” to
dismiss Plaintiff's claims against them. For the reasons
expressed below, Defendants' motion will be granted.
February 14, 2015, Plaintiff, Stephen Schweizer, was driving
his car on Route 47 in Middle Township, Cape May County, New
Jersey. Plaintiff claims that he was on his way home, which
was a short distance away, and he was obeying the 25 mph
speed limit and all traffic signals and road signs. Plaintiff
claims that Defendant Officer Jeffrey Salvesen was operating
his Middle Township police vehicle and noticed that
Plaintiff's car had a flat tire. Plaintiff claims that
Salvesen turned on his overhead lights in an attempt to stop
Plaintiff, but Plaintiff did not pull over. Plaintiff claims
that he continued driving the speed limit to his home, and
pulled into his driveway.
claims that Salvesen pulled in front of Plaintiff's
house, got out of his police vehicle, drew his weapon, and
proceeded to run toward Plaintiff. Plaintiff claims that
Salvesen holstered his weapon and without provocation,
physically tackled Plaintiff to the ground placing him face
down on his concrete driveway. Plaintiff claims that Salvesen
was joined by Defendant Officer Mary Creamer, and both
officers proceeded to beat Plaintiff with their closed fists,
knees, and elbows, despite the fact that Plaintiff was not
asserting any substantial resistance other than to protect
himself from the physical assault by the two officers.
claims that Defendants smashed his head onto the concrete
driveway, causing him to lose consciousness. Plaintiff also
claims that other officers appeared at the scene and he was
further beaten and sprayed in the eyes with Oleoresin
Capsicum spray while he lay handcuffed on the ground.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants' beating caused him to
suffer a traumatic brain injury, fractured nose, fractured
orbital bones, permanent back, neck and other injuries.
alleges that the officers' actions constituted excessive
force and a violation of the Township's Use of Force
Policy, New Jersey Attorney General's Use of Force
Policy, and the New Jersey Police Training Commission
Performance Objectives. Plaintiff also claims that other
officers failed to intervene to protect him from the unlawful
use of force by Salvesen, Creamer, and the other officers who
beat him. Plaintiff further claims that Salvesen and Creamer
filed false charges against him for aggravated assault in
order to cover up their unlawful use of force.
on these claims, Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fourth
Amendment rights against Salvesen, Creamer, and Defendant
Officer Steven Hanse for their use of excessive force, and
for assault and battery under New Jersey state
Plaintiff has asserted claims against “Middle Township
Mayor and Governing Body” for failing to properly train
Middle Township officers in the use of force, by fostering a
policy and custom of using unlawful force, and hiring Hanse
even though he had a history of civil rights abuses.
“Middle Township Mayor and Governing Body” have
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against them for
Plaintiff's lack of specificity as to the identity of the
mayor and the members of the governing body, and how those
individuals violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights.
Defendants additionally move do dismiss what appear to be
claims against the Township for municipal liability under
Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of New
York, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978) because of
Plaintiff's boilerplate pleading without any factual
underpinning as to how liability could be imposed against the
municipality. Plaintiff has not opposed Defendants'
Subject matter jurisdiction
has brought claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and New
Jersey state law. This Court has jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's federal claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
and supplemental jurisdiction ...