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Wallace v. Fontana

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 3, 2019

THOMAS WALLACE, Plaintiff,
v.
DET. ANTHONY FONTANA, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Thomas Wallace, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Previously, this Court granted plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         At this time, this Court must screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A to determine whether the complaint is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or whether it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening opinion. Plaintiff names two defendants in his complaint: (1) Det. Anthony Fontana - Burlington Township Police Department; and (2) Lisa M. Commentucci - Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.

         The entirety of plaintiff's factual allegations are as follows:

(1) Prosecutor conduct constitutes grand jury misconduct date 6.14.17 6.15.17; (2) prosecutor criminal mis-prosecutions - date 6.14.17 6.15.17; (3) prosecutor forgery committed, falseifying [sic] documents date 6.6.17; (4) prosecutor purposely knowingly, recklessly, negligently misuse of power and violation of both my civil rights and constitution malicious prosecution cause me mental stress and angunt [sic] violates my constitutional rights to grand jury indictment. The grand jury clause of the Fifth Amendment guarantees that a defendant will be indicted constituted a violation of D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3 at my trial Dated: 6.14.17 6.15.17; (5) Det. Anthony Fontana committed perjury at trial date 6.14.17; (6) Det. Anthony Fontana violated both my civil and constitutional rights date 6.14.17, 2.8.16, 4.25.16, 5.3.16; (7) Det. Anthony Fontana withheld evidence; (8) Det. Anthony Fontana violated official misconduct and abuse of power Dated: 6.14.17.

(ECF No. 1 at 5-6).

         Plaintiff requests monetary damages, that an indictment be dismissed and that Fontana and Commentucci be fired from their jobs.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26, 1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to 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. see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         “The 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) (citing Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 Fed.Appx. 230, 232 (3d Cir. 2012) (discussing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1)); Courteau v. United States, 287 Fed.Appx. 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). That standard is set forth in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), as explicated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. To survive the court's screening for failure to state a claim, the complaint must allege ‘sufficient factual matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “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 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “[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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Pro se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). Nevertheless, “pro se litigants still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim.” Mala v. Crown ...


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