United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
OPINION Dkt. No. 35
RENÉE MARIE BUMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon a motion to dismiss
Plaintiff Christiana Itiowe's (the
“Plaintiff”) Second Amended Complaint filed by
defendants the City of Williamstown, New Jersey, Monroe
Township Mayor Daniel Teefy (improperly pled as Teefy
Daniel), Municipal Court Judge Nicholas Lacovara; Municipal
Prosecutor Charles Fiore; John McKeown, Monroe Township
Police Chief; the Monroe Township Police Department and its
Internal Affairs Unit; and Officer Roy Pierson (collectively,
the “Defendants”). [Dkt. No. 35]. Defendants seek
to dismiss all counts of pro se plaintiff Christiana
Itiowe's (the “Plaintiff”) Second Amended
Complaint in which Plaintiff alleges (1) violations of the
First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the
United States Constitution, for which she seeks redress
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1983; (2) violation of 42 U.S.C.
§2000a-2; (3) violations of N.J. Stat. 10:5-1 and
10:1-2; (4) and violations of several New Jersey
criminal statutes. For the reasons set forth below, the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be GRANTED in part,
and DENIED, in part.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court must
liberally construe her Complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (“[H]owever
inartfully pleaded, ” the “allegations of a pro
se complaint [are held] to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]”). As with
Plaintiff's Complaint and Amended Complaint, even
construing Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint
liberally, it is difficult to comprehend. The facts below
are those that the Court could make out from Plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint, and are accepted as true for the
purposes of this review.
alleges that on March 13, 2016, while in line at the Walmart
store located at 1840 Black Horse Pike, Williamstown, New
Jersey, a Walmart employee and another Walmart customer
behaved inappropriately, in a “racist like”
manner towards her, leading to a verbal altercation. (Second
Am. Compl. at 11, ¶ 1). As a result of this altercation,
a Walmart employee called the police. (Id. at 11,
¶ 2). Monroe Township Police Officer Roy Pierson was
dispatched to the store and, ultimately, Plaintiff was asked
to leave. (Id. at 11, ¶ 2-3).
way out of the store, Plaintiff alleges, she realized she had
forgotten the bag containing the items she purchased.
(Id. at 11, ¶ 4-5). Plaintiff claims that upon
realizing this, she turned back toward the registers, at
which time Officer Pierson “made a hand gesture”
and “acted like . . . [he] was going to grab”
her. (Id.) Because of “psychological
damage” and a fear of police, Plaintiff responded to
this gesture by asking Officer Pierson - in profane language
- not to touch her. (Id. at 12, ¶ 1). At that
point, Plaintiff alleges that Officer Pierson “went
crazy, ” and “started attacking” her and
“threatening” to arrest her. (Id.)
During this altercation, Plaintiff alleges that Officer
Pierson picked her up and body-slammed her to the ground head
first, which caused Plaintiff to lose two of her teeth.
(Id. at 12, ¶ 2-3). Officer Pierson then
her arrest, Plaintiff alleges that several of the Defendants
participated in a vague conspiracy against her by, among
other things, failing to read her her Miranda rights
and “chang[ing] the stories [sic]” and making
false reports about what happened outside the Walmart.
(Id. at 12, ¶ 3). She alleges, without any
factual support, that the Monroe Township Police Department
filed malicious and frivolous criminal complaints against
her, (Id.); Municipal Prosecutor Fiore maliciously
prosecuted her, (Id.); and that Municipal Court
Judge Lacovara improperly denied motions she filed, refused
to dismiss the criminal case against her, and threatened her
with contempt of court (Id. at 12, ¶ 3; 13
¶ 1-3). It is unclear what Mayor Daniel Teefy and Chief
John McKeown are alleged to have done.
commenced this action on October 24, 2016, alleging
violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of
the United States Constitution, along with several New Jersey
statutory violations and false imprisonment and false arrest
claims against the city of Williamstown, New Jersey; its
Mayor Daniel Teefy; Monroe Township Municipal Court Judge
Nicholas Lacovara; Municipal Prosecutor Charles Fiore;
Marcella Carter, Administrative Assistant to the Chief of
Police; the Monroe Township Police Department; and its
Internal Affairs Unit. [Dkt. No. 1]. On December 19, 2016,
Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint [Dkt.
No. 7]. On December 30, 2016, Plaintiff sought leave to amend
her Complaint [Dkt. No. 10], which this Court granted [Dkt.
No. 12], and Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on February
15, 2017 [Dkt. No. 13]. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
contained only one change, adding Chief John McKeown as a
defendant in place of Marcella Carter.
March 1, 2017, Defendants again moved to dismiss each of
Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
[Dkt. No. 15]. Plaintiff filed a letter in response to
Defendants' Motion on March 13, 2017 [Dkt. No. 19].
Defendant also filed letters with the Court on March 20, 2017
[Dkt. No. 21, 22], April 12, 2017 [Dkt. No. 23], and May 3,
2017 [Dkt. No. 24] reiterating her incomprehensible
arguments. On September 21, 2017, the Court dismissed
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, without prejudice, and
provided Plaintiff thirty days to file another amended
complaint. [Dkt. No. 28]. The Court ordered that
Plaintiff's amended pleading should consist of no more
than three pages and should state in numbered paragraphs
“the claim(s) alleged with supporting facts
specifically identifying which individual or entity is
accused of which acts.” [Id.] To the extent
Plaintiff needed additional pages to state her claim, the
Court required that she provide a one-page statement with an
October 10, 2017, Plaintiff moved for an extension of time to
amend so that she could attempt to retain counsel. [Dkt. No.
29]. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion and extended
her deadline for amendment by thirty days. [Dkt. No. 30]. On
November 13, 2017, Plaintiff moved to stay the case until she
could retain counsel. [Dkt. No. 31]. The Court declined to
stay the case, but provided Plaintiff with another thirty-day
extension to file her Second Amended Complaint, either
pro se or with the assistance of counsel. [Dkt. No.
32]. On December 20, 2017, Plaintiff-still proceeding pro
se-filed her Second Amended Complaint. [Dkt. No. 34].
currently pending motion to dismiss was filed on January 10,
2018. [Dkt. No. 35].
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face'” in order to withstand a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Claims are facially plausible “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged, ” and “an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation” will not
survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at 663, 678.
“[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286
district court “must accept as true all well-pled
factual allegations as well as all reasonable inferences that
can be drawn from them, and construe those allegations in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff” when reviewing a
plaintiff's allegations. Bistrian v. Levi, 696
F.3d 352 n. 1 (3d Cir. 2012). Only the allegations in the
complaint, and “matters of public record, orders,
exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the
record of the case” are taken into consideration.
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