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Kamden-Ouaffo v. Plaza Square Apartments

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 19, 2019

RICKY KAMDEN-OUAFFO, Plaintiff,
v.
PLAZA SQUARE APARTMENTS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          MICHAEL A. SHIPP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Tins matter comes before the Court upon pro se Plaintiff Ricky Kamden-Ouaffo's ("Plaintiff') Motion for a Thirty-Day Extension of time to File an Amended Complaint and Order for other relief.[1] (ECF No. 60.) Defendant Plaza Square Apartments ("Defendant") opposed (ECF No. 61), and Plaintiff did not reply. The Court has carefully ordered the arguments and decides the matter without oral argument pursuant to Local Civil Rule 78.1. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court denies Plaintiffs Motion, and dismisses with prejudice Plaintiff s Complaint.

         Plaintiff initially filed a complaint alleging federal housing discrimination under the Fan Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. J 3601, * sea. ("FHA"), and pendent state law claims. (Compl. ¶¶ 161-329, ECF No. 1.) Defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint, (see generally First Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 29), which this Court granted in a Letter Opinion and Order dated September 5, 2017. (See generally Letter Op., ECF No. 52; Order, ECF No. 53.) Namely, this Court found Plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege a claim under the FHA, and therefore dismissed Plaintiffs pendant state law claims. (See generally Letter Op. 2.) Moreover, this Court explicitly stated that it dismissed the Complaint without prejudice and granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. (Order 1-2 ("If Plaintiff does not file an amended complaint by th[e] deadline, th[is] Court will dismiss Plaintiffs federal claims with prejudice.").)

         Subsequently, Plaintiff appealed the Court's Letter Opinion and Order to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (Notice of Appeal, ECF No. 56.) In its per curiam opinion, the Third Circuit affirmed this Court's order dismissing Plaintiffs Complaint. (See generally Third Circuit Op., ECF No. 59-2.) Specifically, the Third Circuit determined that Plaintiff waived his FHA claim and therefore, "it was appropriate to dismiss the state-law claims, too."[2] (Id. at 4.) Further, in addressing its jurisdiction to review the matter, the Third Circuit provided, "Although the District Court's . . . [O]rder dismissed [Plaintiffs] complaint without prejudice, we nevertheless have jurisdiction over this order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 because [Plaintiff) did not subsequently file an amended complaint. See Batoff v. State Farm Ins. Co., 977 F.2d 848, 851 n.5 (3d Cir. 1992)." (Id. at 3 n.2 (emphasis in original).)

         In the instant motion, Plaintiff seeks an extension of lime to file an amended complaint and other relief. (See generally Pl's Moving Br., ECF No. 60.) Defendant, however, opposes, arguing Plaintiff waived his right to amend the Complaint, and therefore Plaintiffs Complaint should be deemed dismissed with prejudice. (Def.'s Opp'n Br. 7, [3] ECF No. 61; see also Id. ("Since this [P]laintiff has failed to timely amend the [C]omplaint as allowed by the [District [C]ourt. . . [P]laintiff should not now be permitted to amend the complaint more than a year after the deadline to amend the complaint expired. Plaintiff chose to stand upon the original complaint and filed a notice of appeal in lieu of amending same.").) The Court agrees with Defendant.

         The Court explicitly noted in its September 5, 2017 Order that if Plaintiff failed to submit an amended complaint by the imposed deadline, the Court would dismiss with prejudice Plaintiffs federal claims. (Order 2.) Plaintiff did not submit an amended complaint, but rather filed a notice of appeal with the Third Circuit. (Notice of Appeal.) The Third Circuit then held that Plaintiff waived his federal claim, and further provided that it had jurisdiction to review the matter "because [Plaintiff] did not subsequently file an amended complaint." (Third Circuit Op. 3 n.2.) In so holding, the Third Circuit cited to a footnote in Batoff, which provides,

The order raises an issue of appellate jurisdiction which we must address, as it disposed of the case on the merits but provided that [the plaintiff] "shall have thirty days to amend" certain of his allegations. [The plaintiff] did not amend his complaint but instead filed a notice of appeal within [thirty] days of the order. While we have held that an order dismissing a complaint without prejudice is not a final, appealable order unless the plaintiff cannot amend or declares his intention to stand on his complaint, ... we find that, by failing to move to amend within the [thirty] days granted by the court, [the plaintiff] elected to stand on his complaint. Thus, even if the order of dismissal was not final when entered, it became final after [thirty] days. We therefore may exercise jurisdiction pursuant to28U.S.C. § 1291 ....

         977 F.2d at 854 n.5 (internal citations omitted).

         Here, the Third Circuit recognized the similarities between the instant action and Batoff, and determined it had jurisdiction to review Plaintiffs appeal because Plaintiff failed to file an amended complaint within the Court's provided time-frame. The Third Circuit further held Plaintiff waived his federal claims, and affirmed this Court's dismissal of Plaintiffs pendant state law claims. As a result, Plaintiffs Complaint is dismissed with prejudice pursuant to the Court's September 5, 2017 Letter Opinion and Order, and Plaintiff s Motion for a Thirty-Day Extension of Time to File an amended Complaint and Order for other relief is denied as moot.

         The Court, consequently, deems Plaintiffs Complaint dismissed with prejudice, and denies Plaintiffs Motion for a Thirty-Day Extension of time to File an Amended Complaint and Order for Other Relief. Accordingly, IT IS on this 19th day of June 2019, ORDERED that:

         1. Plaintiffs Complaint (ECF No. 1) is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         2. Plaintiffs Motion for a Thirty-Day Extension of Time to File an Amended Complaint and Order for Other Relief (ECF No. 60) is DENIED AS MOOT.

         3. The Clerk shall ...


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