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Chavarria v. State

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 13, 2019

CHRISTOPHER CHAVARRIA, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, WILLIAM PEREZ, SGT. J.R. COPPOLA, TROOPER JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.

          OPINION

          WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon Defendant the State of New Jersey's (“State”) Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. There was no oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff is represented by counsel, but the Amended Complaint, ECF No. [1-1], is not a model of clarity.[1] Much of the allegations found in the Amended Complaint are boilerplate recitation of state and federal constitutional rights without factual details. Based on the sparse allegations before the Court, it appears that on February 11, 2016 Plaintiff, while driving in Summit, New Jersey, had an encounter with at least one state trooper. Plaintiff alleges that during the encounter the state trooper stated that he smelled the odor of marijuana and searched Plaintiff's vehicle. It is not clear if anything was found in the vehicle. The trooper then asked Plaintiff to consent to a breath test, and Plaintiff refused. Plaintiff was then arrested for driving under the influence and refusal to consent to a breath test. ECF No. [1-1] at 7; see also N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50 & 4-50.2. The Amended Complaint does not state if Plaintiff made any further statements to the trooper.

         On July 18, 2016, the state court suppressed the fruits of the search of Plaintiff's vehicle. The charges were later dismissed. Based on these facts, Plaintiff asserts the following claims:

1. Count I: “Violations of New Jersey Constitution - All Defendants”
2. Count II: “False Arrest, Violations of U.S. Constitutions [sic] 4th and 5th Amendment and N.J. Constitution, Article 1 - All Defendants”
3. Count III: “Malicious Prosecution - All Defendants”
4. Count IV: “Invasion of Privacy Article 1 Par 1 New Jersey Constitution - Individual Defendants Only” 5. Count V: “Lible [sic], Slander, Defamation - Individual Defendants Only”
6. Count VI: “Infliction of Severe Emotional Distress [] - Individual Defendants Only”
7. Count VII: “USCA [sic] 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988 - All Defendants”
8. Count VIII: “N.J.S.A. 10:5-1.1, 10:5-12(f), 10-1-1, 2 - All Defendants.”

         II. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff initially filed this case on February 13, 2017 in New Jersey state court. See ECF No. [1] at 2. According to the NJAG[2], that case was dismissed on September 1, 2017 for lack of prosecution. On May 2, 2018, counsel for Plaintiff filed a “Motion for Reinstatement” in New Jersey state court, which was granted on May 25, 2018. Id. at 2. On August 3, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, ECF No. [1-1], which added the federal causes of action set forth in Count VII. The Amended Complaint asserts claims against the State of New Jersey, the Division of State Police State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety (the “Division”), Superintendent of State Police Joseph Fuentes, State Trooper William Perez, Sargent J.R. Coppola, and John Does 1-10. Id. The NJAG represents that the State was served on September 25, 2018 with a copy of the Amended Complaint. Id. at 3. It is unclear whether Plaintiff ever attempted to serve the other Defendants with a copy of the original or amended complaints. Id. ...


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