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Klingberg v. Hatcher

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 18, 2019

CHARLES V. KLINGBERG, JR. and BRENDA KLINGBERG, Plaintiffs,
v.
LISA HATCHER, RON MIDDLETON, SCOTT OBERMEIER, DAVE WALLACE, and GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, Defendants.

          PETER M. KOBER CHERRY HILL, N.J. 08003 On behalf of Plaintiffs

          RICHARD L. GOLDSTEIN MARSHALL, DENNEHEY, WARNER, COLEMAN & GOGGIN, PA MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. 08054 On behalf of Defendants Lisa Hatcher, Ron Middleton, Scott Obermeier, and Gloucester Township

          JESSICA ANN JANNETTI OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF N.J. TRENTON, N.J. 08625 On behalf of Defendant Dave Wallace

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         This matter concerns constitutional claims by Plaintiffs after they were detained for fifteen hours at a police station during an investigation into a fire at Plaintiffs' apartment. After the investigation, no charges were filed. Presently before the Court is the second motion of Defendant Dave Wallace, one of the investigators, to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims. For the reasons expressed below, Defendant's motion will be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         A full recitation of the facts of the case may be found in this Court's prior opinion granting Defendant Dave Wallace's first motion to dismiss. (Docket No. 34.) Previously, this Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims against Wallace for lack of sufficient pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs subsequently amended their complaint.

         Briefly stated, on January 27, 2016, Plaintiffs, Charles V. Klingberg, Jr. and Brenda Klingberg, were taken to the Gloucester Township police station to give a statement to aid in the investigation of a fire at their apartment. They claim that they were not permitted to leave for fifteen hours. With regard to Defendant Wallace's involvement in Plaintiffs' detention, Plaintiffs' second amended complaint alleges that Wallace, an investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, [1] participated in interrogations of both Brenda Klingberg and Charles Klingberg. Plaintiffs claim:

45. Defendant, DAVE WALLACE, arrived at the Gloucester Township police department during the course of the afternoon while the detention of Plaintiffs was in progress.
46. After his arrival, Defendant, DAVE WALLACE, did not inquire of the Plaintiffs if they were present in the police station by their consent.
47. The failure by the Defendant, DAVE WALLACE, to inquire of the Plaintiffs if they were present in the police station by consent was deliberate indifference as to whether the Plaintiffs were present in the police station by consent or not.
48. Defendant, DAVE WALLACE, as an experienced detective, should reasonably have realized that if the Plaintiffs were not detained in the police station by their consent, their continued detention in the police station for purposes of interrogation and investigation was a violation of their constitutional rights.
49. If Defendant, DAVE WALLACE, had inquired of the Plaintiffs if they were present in the Gloucester Township Police station by consent, he would have learned that the Plaintiffs were not present in the Gloucester Township Police station by consent.
50. Upon learning that the Plaintiffs were not present in the Gloucester Township Police station by consent, in order not to be complicit in violating the Plaintiffs' constitutional rights, Defendant, DAVE WALLACE, needed to tell the Gloucester Township individual defendants that they needed to release Plaintiffs immediately, and that he would refuse to ...

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