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Saleem v. Bonds

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 8, 2020

ABDUL WALI SALEEM, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE BONDS, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Dr. Yusef's motion to dismiss the Complaint. (ECF No. 16). Defendant Yusef is the last remaining defendant in this matter. Plaintiff opposes the motion (ECF No. 19), and Defendant did not file a reply. For the reasons stated in this Opinion, the Court will deny the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         As the parties are intimately familiar with the facts of this case, and because the Court has already set forth the background of this matter in its earlier Opinion (ECF No. 6), the Court will only state those facts necessary to address the instant motion.

         According to the brief allegations in the Complaint, at some point prior to August 26, 2016, Unknown Officer opened Plaintiffs incoming mail, which contained “pictures depicting homosexuals.” (ECF No. 1, at 6). Unknown Officer then showed the pictures to, among other people, the Defendant, an Islamic chaplain at the prison. On August 26, 2016, officers turned Plaintiff away from prayer services at the direction of Defendant.

         Thereafter, Plaintiff wrote to the commissioner's office, the special investigation division, and the prison administrator. Plaintiff does not elaborate on the contents of those writings, the results thereof, or whether anyone is still denying Plaintiff access to religious services.

         Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint on or about January 29, 2018. The Court granted his in forma pauperis application and screened the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF Nos. 5, 6). The Court permitted Plaintiffs First Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to proceed against Defendant and dismissed Plaintiffs other claims. (ECF No. 6).

         Defendant now moves to dismiss the claim against him. He argues that the Court should dismiss the Complaint because: (1) Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; (2) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction; and (3) the Court should abstain from hearing this matter. (ECF No. 16).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a court to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When evaluating a motion to dismiss, “courts accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)). In other words, a complaint survives a motion to dismiss if it contains sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         To make this determination, a court conducts a three-part analysis. Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010). First, the court must “tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675). Second, the court should identify allegations that, “because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at 131 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680). Finally, “where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.” Id.

         As a general matter, a district court ruling on a motion to dismiss may not consider matters extraneous to the pleadings. In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997). This rule rests on the concern that considering documents outside the complaint would prejudice the plaintiff, who would lack notice to challenge them. Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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