United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Jerry Somerset, maintains an action against the
State of New Jersey, Frank Covello, J.S.C., Joseph Elam,
Lawrence D. Eichen, Strategic Delivery Solutions, LLC
("Strategic Delivery"), and Partners Pharmacy, LLC
("Partners Pharmacy"). Mr. Somerset claims that Mr.
Elam violated an agreement regarding the purchase and
commercial use of a van. He lost that case in state court. He
then brought this action in which he sues the state judge and
other participants or potential participants in the state
case, seeking to overturn the result. I initially granted
several motions to dismiss the complaint, without prejudice
to a motion to amend the complaint. Partners Pharmacy, Judge
Covello, and the State of New Jersey have now moved to
dismiss the Amended Complaint. I will grant their motions to
dismiss, this time with prejudice.
heart of this case is the dissolution of a business venture
between Mr. Somerset and Mr. Elam, whereby Mr. Somerset
provided the money for a van that would be driven by Mr. Elam
as part of a floor refurbishing business. Mr. Somerset
filed his original complaint on February 14, 2017, asserting
claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.,
and the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution,
among other causes of action. (ECF no. 1.) I granted the
motions to dismiss filed by the State, Judge Covello, Eichen,
and Partners Pharmacy, on judicial immunity,
Rooker-Feldman, res judicata, and Eleventh Amendment
immunity grounds, as well as failure to state a claim under
the ADA and the Contracts Clause of the United States
Constitution. (See ECF no. 30.) However, I allowed Mr.
Somerset to file a motion to amend his complaint in order to
remedy the deficiencies of the original. (ECF no. 31.) Mr.
Somerset has since submitted an amended
complaint. Partners Pharmacy and the State, on behalf
of itself and Judge Covello, have moved to dismiss the
Amended Complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (ECF nos. 39,
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 defendant, as the moving party,
bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated.
Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir.
2005). In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must take
the allegations of the complaint as true and draw reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d
Civ. P. 8(a) does not require that a complaint contain
detailed factual allegations. Nevertheless, "a
plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Bell Atl Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the
complaint's factual allegations must be sufficient to
raise a plaintiffs right to relief above a speculative level,
so that a claim is "plausible on its face."
Id. at 570; see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin.
Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). That
facial-plausibility standard is met "when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). While "[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to
a 'probability requirement'... it asks for more than
a sheer possibility." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
the plaintiff, like Mr. Somerset here, is proceeding pro
se, 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).
Partners Pharmacy claims
earlier opinion, I granted Partners Pharmacy's motion to
dismiss because Mr. Somerset's allegations failed to
provide or put forth sufficient facts to state a claim
against Partners Pharmacy for contractual liability or claim
under the ADA. (ECF no. 30, at 19-20.) In his Amended
Complaint, Mr. Somerset has further elaborated on Partners
Pharmacy's involvement with the case at hand.. He states
"[t]he controlling linchpin is my financial investment
in the purchase of the vehicle and services provided to
Partners Pharmacy, LLC and Strategic Delivery Solution, as
well as Joseph Elam personal and financial benefits."
(AC at 4.) He also alleges that he and Mr. Elam delivered
medical supplies from Partners Pharmacy and Strategic
Delivery to Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton, New
Jersey. (Id. at 5.) He then explains in 2014 that he
was requested "to do a floor inspection for repairs and
damages to the company's floors." (Id.)
Aside from procedural descriptions of this case and the
underlying state case,  these allegations are the extent of
what is alleged against Partners Pharmacy in the Amended
Somerset seeks "monies lost and loss of income for the
use of [his] vehicle, money invested for the purchase of the
vehicle, " and other losses associated with the vehicle,
equity interest in Partners Pharmacy, and the return of the
vehicle. (AC at 6.) However, the factual allegations made by
Mr. Somerset fail to connect to any actions by Partners
Pharmacy or the relief being sought. The root of Mr.
Somerset's grievance is a claim that Mr. Elam deprived
him of his rightful ownership of the vehicle. Partners
Pharmacy seems to be one of the customers of the business in
which the vehicle was used. Mr. Somerset has not alleged that
Partners Pharmacy is in possession of the vehicle or that
Partners Pharmacy discriminated against him unlawfully on
account of his disability. The complaint, even as amended,
does not put Partners Pharmacy on notice as to what Mr.
Somerset is alleging it has done, the nature of the claims
against it, and how the allegations and the claims connect to
the relief sought. Nor has the Amended Complaint shed any new
light on the claims made by Mr. Somerset in the original
complaint. Therefore, I will dismiss Mr. Somerset's
claims against Partners Pharmacy for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.
Claims against the State and Judge Covello
earlier opinion, I granted the State and Judge Covello's
motion to dismiss. (ECF no. 30, at 20.) For certain claims
against the State, I found that the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine barred Mr. Somerset from attempting to
overturn the result of his underlying state case.
(Id. at 9-12.) I also found that, even if that
doctrine did not apply, the preclusive effect of res
judicata and New Jersey's broad "entire
controversy" rule prevented Mr. Somerset from
relitigating those claims. (ECF no. 30, at 12-13.) However, I
set the ADA claims pertaining to the State aside, because I
found that Mr. Somerset's ...