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Wynder v. Womack

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 17, 2019

DARYL W. WYNDER, Plaintiff,
v.
TROOPER WOMACK, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff, Daryl W. Wynder's counseled motion to reopen the case and proposed amended complaint (“amended complaint”) (ECF No. 10). Initially, Plaintiff filed this civil rights action, pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, [1] and the Court dismissed the complaint after screening for failure to state a claim. (ECF Nos. 8 and 9). At this time, this Court must screen the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A 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 suit. For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss with prejudice Plaintiffs kidnapping claims, dismiss without prejudice the remainder of the amended complaint, and deny Plaintiff s motion to reopen.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court will construe the allegations in the amended complaint as true for the purpose of this Opinion. Further, since the parties are intimately familiar with the facts of this case, and because the Court reviewed the background of this action in its earlier Opinion, the Court will only articulate those facts necessary to address the motion before the Court. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff names only Officers Womack and Norton as Defendants in this action.

         On September 7, 2016, Defendant Womack pulled over Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff was out on parole supervision at that time, on an unrelated offense. Defendant Womack claimed that he smelled old burnt marijuana emanating from Plaintiff's vehicle. Defendant Womack then searched some parts of the vehicle but did not find any marijuana or drug paraphernalia.

         Thereafter, Defendants Womack and Norton searched the remainder of the vehicle, found a gun in the engine compartment, and charged Plaintiff with various weapons charges. The State presented the charges before a grand jury, which ultimately did not indict Plaintiff, resulting in a dismissal of the charges.

         As the Court noted in its prior Opinion, it is unclear exactly what transpired next. It appears that Plaintiff was detained or incarcerated as a result of the weapons charges. Then, on or about November 27, 2017, Plaintiff appeared before members of the New Jersey State Parole Board, who denied parole and gave Plaintiff a future eligibility date of twenty-seven months, due to the weapons charges. As a result, Plaintiff was detained or incarcerated from September 7, 2016, until May 7, 2018.

         Plaintiff filed his initial complaint in December of 2017, and the Court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. (ECF Nos. 8, 9). Plaintiff now brings a counseled amended complaint, setting forth racial profiling, due process, false imprisonment, false arrest, and kidnapping claims against Defendants Womack and Norton.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         District courts must review complaints in civil actions in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). District courts may 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 Id. 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)).

         To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, [2] 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). “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 [alleged] misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution. To succeed on a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege two things: first, a violation of a right under the Constitution, and second, that a “person” acting under color of state law committed the violation. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Piecknick v. Com. of Pa., 36 F.3d 1250, 1255-56 (3d. Cir. 1994)).

         A. ...


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