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Gachau v. RLS Cold Storage

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 22, 2018


          EMMANUEL W. GACHAU Appearing pro se.

          HARRIS NEAL FELDMAN KATHRYN A. SOMERSET PARKER MCCAY P.A. On behalf of Defendant RLS Cold Storage

          ERIC SCOTT THOMPSON FRANKLIN & PROKOPIK On behalf of Defendant Choptank Transport


          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Pro se Plaintiff Emmanuel Gachau brings this Motion to Reopen following the Court's dismissal of his case. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion, as the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

         The Court takes its facts from its April 24, 2018 Opinion. On September 18, 2015, Plaintiff was hired by Choptank Transport to transport frozen strawberries from Texas to New Jersey. On September 21, 2015, Plaintiff arrived as scheduled at the New Jersey location at 7:00 AM to deliver the load at the RLS Cold Storage facility. Plaintiff checked in and was instructed to unload at door sixteen. Before Plaintiff backed the trailer in, an RLS Cold Storage employee took a picture of the temperature of the refrigerated unit at 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit, of the seal before opening the trailer doors, and of the cargo after opening the cargo doors. The employee then instructed Plaintiff to back the trailer in to be unloaded.

         After waiting 1-1.5 hours, the employee told Plaintiff that the shipment was being rejected due to the high temperature of the product. According to Plaintiff, door sixteen was not a refrigerated part of the warehouse. Plaintiff pleads he later discovered that this part of the building was where RLS Cold Storage stored cardboard boxes and was maintained at room temperature. Plaintiff alleges that, after he complained,

[t]he same RLS staff member who rejected the load then grabbed the bill of lading out of [his] hand and hand wrote with an ink pen “quality” but the original rejection due to high temperature was a photocopy. [T]his was another deliberate act when she realized she got exposed to what she had done. Now she wanted to blame the claim on quality but forgot the bill she handed me was a photocopy.

         Plaintiff pleads that an inspection later occurred, in which Defendants failed to provide necessary evidence to the inspection company. Plaintiff argues: “[C]hoptank Transport vice president and legal affairs boss consealed [sic] and colluded with RLS to holding all the evidence I provided.”

         Plaintiff further alleges that after filing a claim with his insurance company over this incident, his insurance was cancelled and him had to obtain more expensive insurance. Plaintiff further claims this incident required him “to start all over as a new company, ” resulting in “all brokerage companies view[ing him] as new.” He then pleads that he could not pass a Department of Transportation inspection, that he was unable to maintain his equipment, and that, on May 8, 2017, he lost his insurance and his operating authority was revoked by the Department of Transportation. Plaintiff argues this resulted in two months of no income.

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this matter on August 31, 2017. On October 12, 2017, Choptank Transport filed a Motion to Dismiss. On October 30, 2017, RLS Cold Storage also filed a Motion to Dismiss. On April 24, 2018, the Court granted Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.

         In the Court's April 24, 2018 Opinion, the Court concluded that Plaintiff failed to plead federal question or diversity subject matter jurisdiction. In particular, while Plaintiff attempted to plead federal question jurisdiction under the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Court concluded there was no private right of action under the Act. Plaintiff did not plead any other federal cause of action or other substantial federal issue that could be the basis for federal question jurisdiction. Plaintiff further did not plead diversity, and the Court noted its serious doubts regarding the $2, 500, 000 amount in controversy asserted by Plaintiff. The Court granted Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, dismissed the complaint without prejudice, and allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to move to reopen his case. Plaintiff was instructed to attach a proposed amended complaint to such motion. Plaintiff thereafter filed a Motion to Reopen.

         The Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen. The Court begins by noting Plaintiff did not attach a proposed amended complaint to his motion, as instructed by this Court. The Court will not deny the motion for this procedural defect alone. However, Plaintiff's arguments to reopen his case fail to show that Plaintiff would be able to sufficiently plead subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff argues this Court has subject matter jurisdiction under federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Court begins with federal question jurisdiction.

         Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen argues this Court has federal question jurisdiction based on his claim under 18 U.S.C. § 1346. However, 18 U.S.C. § 1346 does not support a private cause of action. See Kaul v. Christie, No. 16-2364, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102007, at *49 n.29 (D.N.J. June 30, 2017); McCann v. Falato, No. 14-4896, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144526, at *7 (D.N.J. Oct. 23, 2015); Hooten v. Greggo & Ferrara Co., No. 10-776, 2012 U.S. ...

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