United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Madeline Cox Arleo, District Judge
matter has been opened to the Court by Plaintiffs filing of
an Amended Complaint. It appearing that:
previously submitted a civil rights complaint and an
application to proceed in forma pauperis
("IFF") as a non-prisoner. (ECFNo. 1.) The
Court granted the IFP application, screened the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and construed
Plaintiff to bring his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The Court then dismissed
the Complaint in its entirety under § 1915(e)(2)(B) and
provided Plaintiff with leave to submit an amended complaint.
Plaintiff subsequently submitted an Amended Complaint. (ECF
law requires this Court to screen Plaintiffs Amended
Complaint for sua sponte dismissal prior to service,
and to dismiss any claim if that claim fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
and/or to dismiss any defendant who is immune from suit.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
time, the Court will dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim for
relief. According to the Supreme Court's decision in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, "a pleading that offers
'labels or conclusions' or 'a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'" 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Courts, however, are required to liberally construe pleadings
drafted by pro se parties. See Tucker v. Hewlett
Packard, Inc., No. 14-4699 (RBK/KMW), 2015 WL 6560645,
at *2 (D.N.J. Oct. 29, 2015) (citing Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). Such pleadings are
"held to less strict standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers." Id. Nevertheless, pro se
litigants must still allege facts, which if taken as true,
will suggest the required elements of any claim that is
asserted. Id. (citing Mala v. Crown Bay
Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013)). To do
so, [a plaintiff] must plead enough facts, accepted as true,
to plausibly suggest entitlement to relief." Gibney
v. Fitzgibbon, 547 Fed.Appx. 111, 113 (3d Cir. 2013)
(citing Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d 352, 365 (3d Cir.
2012)). Liberal construction also does not require the Court
to credit a pro se plaintiffs "bald
assertions" or "legal conclusions."
Id. (citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch.
Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997)); see also
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)
("In keeping with these principles a court considering a
motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying
pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions,
are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they
must be supported by factual allegations.") That is,
"[e]ven a pro se complaint may be dismissed for
failure to state a claim if the allegations set forth by the
plaintiff cannot be construed as supplying facts to support a
claim entitling the plaintiff to relief. Id. (citing
Milhouse v. Carlson, 652 F.2d 371, 373 (3d Cir.
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff has named Linda Chan, John
Tsoukaris, and Charles Green as Defendants and provides the
following "Facts to Support Cause of Action":
4. Plaintiff was unlawfully detained and deprived of his
constitutional rights by Defendants 5. Plaintiff spent over
18 months in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
6. Plaintiff was detained without bond while in custody of
7. Plaintiffs Fourth Amendment rights were violated by
(ECF No. 4, Am. Complaint at ¶¶ 4-7.) Here,
Plaintiff alleges without elaboration that he "was
unlawfully detained and deprived of his constitutional rights
by Defendants"; that he was detained for 18 months in
ICE custody; that he was detained without bond while in ICE
custody; and that his "Fourth Amendment rights were
violated by Defendants."
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that plaintiffs set
forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that a pleader is entitled to relief." While this
standard does not require detailed factual allegations, it
does require more than "an unadorned,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. At the very least, the
complaint must "give the defendants fair notice of what
the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545 (internal citation
omitted). In addition, a plaintiff bringing a § 1983 or
Bivens claim "must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official's own
individual actions, has violated the Constitution."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676.
Plaintiffs allegations do not give Defendants fair notice of
the claims against them or explain how each of the Defendants
violated Plaintiffs civil rights. In particular, Plaintiff
has not provided enough facts for the Court to determine
how the Defendants violated Plaintiffs Fourth
Amendment rights or otherwise violated his constitutional
rights. By its plain terms, the Fourth Amendment forbids
unreasonable searches and seizures, see Ziglar v.
Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843, 1866 (2017); violations of the
Fourth Amendment include arrest without probable cause, false
imprisonment, excessive force, and other claims involving
searches or seizures of persons or property. Plaintiff,
however, does not provide enough facts for the Court to
assess whether he was unlawfully detained under the Fourth
Amendment or whether his detention without bond for eighteen
months violated the Fourth Amendment or other constitutional
right. In order for the Court to determine whether Plaintiff
states a claim for relief, he must provide enough
facts so that the Court may assess whether each of the
Defendants violated Plaintiffs Fourth Amendment rights (or
other constitutional rights) in connection with his
detention. For these reasons, the Court will dismiss the
Amended Complaint in its entirety for failure to state a
claim for relief pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B) as to all
Defendants. The Court will administratively terminate this
action and provide Plaintiff with a final opportunity to
submit a second amended complaint that cures the deficiencies
in his claims.
therefore, on this 9th day of November 2018, ORDERED
that the Cleric of the Court shall mark this matter
as OPEN; and it is further
that Plaintiffs Amended Complaint is dismissed WITHOUT
PREJUDICE as to all Defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim ...