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Dawkins v. Office of Attorney General

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 4, 2018

ERIC K. DAWKINS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, et al., Defendants.

          Eric K. Dawkins, Jr., No. 48710 Cumberland County Courthouse Plaintiff Pro se.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Eric K. Dawkins, Jr., a prisoner presently confined at the Cumberland County Department of Corrections in Bridgeton, New Jersey, seeks to bring a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey, the Cumberland County Courthouse, the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, the Bridgeton State Police Department, and Christopher S. Porrino, former Attorney General. See ECF No. 1.

         At this time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff lists as defendants in the caption of the Complaint the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey, the Cumberland County Courthouse, the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, the Bridgeton State Police Department, and Christopher S. Porrino, the now former state Attorney General. See ECF No. 1. The sole allegation of the Complaint is that

Each defendant directly, indirectly, administrative and judicially deprive me of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness by conspiring together to keep me unlawful incarcerated. Each defendant utilized their positions to advocate and perpetuate wrongful imprisonment. I have been subjected to post dramatic stress, anxiety, frustration, poor medical treatment, and loss custody of my sons while involuntarily incarcerated at the Cumberland County Jail. All above parties indirectly, directly, administratively, judicially deliberately created [illegible] tort against me real party of interest cruelly.

ECF No. 1 at 4. As for relief, Plaintiff requests $1, 500, 000, release from the Cumberland County Department of Corrections, and bail reform. Id. at 5.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. The Court must sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See ECF No. 2 (granting in forma pauperis application).

         To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). “‘A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In order to state a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must show that “‘(1) the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct deprived a person of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.'” Calhoun v. Young, 288 Fed.Appx. 47, 49 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Robb v. City of Phila., 733 F.2d 286, 290-91 (3d Cir. 1984)).

         Defendants the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey, the Cumberland County Courthouse, the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, and the Bridgeton State Police Department must be dismissed with prejudice because they are not “persons” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (state agencies not subject to suit under § 1983); Carroway v. New Jersey, 202 Fed.Appx. 564, 565 (3d Cir. 2006) (noting that New Jersey county courts are not subject to suit under § 1983); Grabow v. S. State Corr. Facility, ...


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