United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MELVIN R. MANNING, Plaintiff,
HUSDON COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
Madeline Cox Arleo, District Judge
matter has been opened to the Court by Defendant County of
Hudson's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 28) Plaintiffs
Complaint. The Complaint alleges violations of Plaintiff s
civil rights arising from his pretrial incarceration for
three years on criminal charges and his subsequent civil
commitment following a judicial finding that he was not
competent to stand trial. (See ECF No. 1.) Because
the allegations in the Complaint fail to state a claim for
relief under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), the Court will grant the motion to dismiss.
The Court will provide Plaintiff with an opportunity to
submit an Amended Complaint that cures the deficiencies in
the Complaint as described in this Opinion. If Plaintiff
files an Amended Complaint, Defendant shall move or otherwise
respond to the Amended Complaint as required by Fed.R.Civ.P.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Court relies on Plaintiffs Complaint, the attached exhibits,
and those exhibits attached to Defendant's motion to
dismiss that are matters of public record and/or referenced
in the Complaint. On March 1, 2010, Manning was indicted on
criminal charges involving sexual offenses against children.
(See ECF No. 28-2, Ex. A to Motion to Dismiss.) It
appears that Plaintiff was arrested in New York City On April
21, 2010, and was extradited to Hudson County, New Jersey
based on the outstanding arrest warrant. (ECF No. 1, Compl.
at 13-14.) Based on the allegations in the Complaint,
Plaintiff remained incarcerated as a pretrial detainee for
approximately three years, awaiting trial. (See Id.
at 10.) On March 20, 2013, the Honorable Rudolph N. Hawkins,
Jr. of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson
County, dismissed the criminal charges against Plaintiff,
finding him mentally incompetent to stand trial, and entered
a Civil Commitment Order, which was continued until May 13,
2013. (Id. at 17-20.) In the Complaint, Plaintiff
appears to allege that he remained involuntarily committed at
Ann Klein Forensic Center for nine additional months
following the dismissal of the criminal charges. (Mat 3, 10.)
appears to allege that his arrest, pretrial incarceration,
and his subsequent civil commitment violated his civil
rights, but provides few relevant facts about the nature of
his claims. Plaintiff proclaims his innocence of the crimes
for which he was arrested and indicted, and states that he
was "accused with no meaditaion [sic]" or
"arbitration" and was "not presentat [sic]
grand jury proceding [sic]. (Id. at 2.) He further
states that he was held as a pretrial detainee for three
years and brought before multiple judges prior to the
dismissal of the charges against him, and was subsequently
civilly committed for an additional nine months.
has also attached to his Complaint his 2013 medical records
from Moorestown Medical Center and appear to assert that he
was injured or otherwise suffered serious medical problems
during the time he was incarcerated and/or civilly committed.
(Id. at 2, 21-33.)
the Complaint alludes vaguely to a 2014 law suit that
Plaintiff filed state court. (Id. at 35.) That
lawsuit was apparently dismissed with prejudice on November
21, 2014 because Plaintiff failed to file a notice of tort
claim within one year. (ECF No. 28-2, Ex. D to
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss).
has sued Hudson County in the instant action and seeks damages
for his injuries. He filed the instant action in the
District Court for the District of Columbia on or about April
24, 2017. The matter was subsequently transferred to the
District of New Jersey, and assigned to the undersigned. The
Court granted Plaintiffs application to proceed in forma
pauperis and directed service of the Complaint. The
instant motion to dismiss followed.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
motion seeks dismissal of the Complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(6) for failure to state a claim for
relief. The Court addresses both standards of review, as well
as the standard for sua sponte dismissal under 28 U.S.C.
motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) must be granted
if the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over a claim.
In re Schering Plough Corp. Intron/Temodar Consumer Class
Action, 678 F.3d 235, 243 (3d Cir. 2012). On a motion
under Rule 12(b)(1), it is the plaintiff who bears the burden
of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction. Gould Elec,
Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).
A district court may treat a party's motion to dismiss
for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)
as either a facial or factual challenge to the court's
jurisdiction. Gould Elecs., 220 F.3d at 176.
"In reviewing a facial attack, the court must only
consider the allegations of the complaint and documents
referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff." Id. (citing
PBGC v. White, 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)).
By contrast, "[i]n reviewing a factual attack, the court
may consider evidence outside the pleadings."
Id. (citing Gotha v. United States, 115
F.3d 176, 178- 79 (3d Cir. 1997)); see United States ex
rel. Atkinson v. Pa. Shipbuilding Co., A17> F.3d 506,
514 (3d Cir. 2007). A district court has "substantial
authority" to "weigh the evidence and satisfy
itself as to the existence of its power to hear the
case." Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). "[N]o
presumptive truthfulness attaches to plaintiffs allegations,
and the existence of disputed material facts will not
preclude the trial court from evaluating for itself the
merits of jurisdictional claims." Id.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court may dismiss
an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. When evaluating a motion to dismiss, "courts
accept all factual allegations as true, construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the
complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief."
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.
2009) (quoting Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)). A complaint survives a motion
to dismiss if it contains sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). It is not for courts to decide at
this point whether the non-moving party will succeed on the
merits, but "whether they should be afforded an
opportunity to offer evidence in support of their
claims." In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec.
Litig., 311 F.3d 198, 215 (3d Cir. 2002). While
"detailed factual allegations" are not necessary, a
"plaintiffs 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 (internal quotations omitted); see also Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009).
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)." Schreane
v. Seana,506 Fed.Appx. 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012) (per
curiam); see also Courteau v. United States, 287
Fed.Appx. 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008) (discussing 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)). Courts are required to liberally construe
pleadings drafted by pro se parties. 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)). Furthermore, "[l]iberal construction does not,
however, require the Court to credit a pro se plaintiffs
'bald assertions' or 'legal conclusions.'
Id. (citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch