REED v. NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 1/19/2017. (TH, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JOHNNY L. REED, IV,
Civil No. 15-1305 (NLH/JS)
NEW JERSEY STATE SUPERINTENDENT
JOSEPH FUENTES, ET AL.,
Johnny L. Reed, IV
P.O. Box 109
Sicklerville, NJ 08081
Pro Se Plaintiff
Anne E. Walters
Office of County Counsel
Courthouse, 14th Floor
520 Market Street
Camden, NJ 08102
Attorney for Defendant Camden County Health Services
Matthew J. Lynch
Deputy Attorney Generals
State Of New Jersey
Office of the Attorney General Division of Law
25 Market Street
P.O. Box 112
Trenton, NJ 08625
Attorneys for Defendants New Jersey Department of Children
and Families, Commissioner Alison Blake, and New Jersey
State Police Superintendent Joseph Fuentes
Robert J. Gillispie, Jr.
Mayfield Turner O'Mara Donnelly & McBride
2201 Route 38
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Attorney for Defendants J. Hurd, Robert Stimelski, Winslow
Township (Police Department), and Winslow Township Police
Ronald B. Thompson, Esq., Pro Se
563 Berlin Cross Keys Road
Sicklerville, New Jersey 08081
HILLMAN, District Judge
This is a civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by
pro se Plaintiff Johnny Reed. 1
In a previous Opinion and Order,
the Court dismissed Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, holding that
the Amended Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted. See Reed v. Winslow Twp., 2016 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 46913 (D.N.J. Apr. 6, 2016).
Nonetheless, the Court
allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his Amended Complaint
to attempt to cure the identified deficiencies. See id. 2
Plaintiff timely filed a Second Amended Complaint.
Defendants to Plaintiff’s remaining claims presently move to
The Court exercises federal question subject matter
jurisdiction. The parties are not completely diverse.
The Court, however, did not grant leave to amend Count 5 of
the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim
against Defendant Ronald B. Thompson, Esq. Reed, 2016 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 46913 at *14-19.
dismiss the Second Amended Complaint, asserting that it does not
cure the previously identified deficiencies.
filed no opposition to the motions. 3
For the reasons stated herein, the Court will dismiss with
prejudice the federal claims and decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The substantive factual allegations, as well as the legal
claims, of the Second Amended Complaint are not different from
the Amended Complaint.
To briefly reiterate, Plaintiff’s claims
arise out of two arrests occurring on March 28, 2008 and May 9,
2008 and Plaintiff’s subsequent involuntary hospitalization at
Defendant Kennedy Memorial Hospital for “a psychiatric condition
which plaintiff did not suffer from.” (Second Amend. Compl. ¶
Plaintiff contends that both arrests and his involuntary
hospitalization were unconstitutional, fraudulent, and
He further contends that his attorney, who
represented him in connection with at least one of the arrests,
“coerced [him] into pleading ‘insanity’” (Second Amend. Compl. ¶
Plaintiff’s various opposition briefs were due in June and
July, 2016. The docket reflects that Plaintiff’s last filing
with the Court was the Second Amended Complaint, filed on June
55), which seems to have allegedly led to Plaintiff’s
There are five groups of Defendants: (1) the New Jersey
State Defendants 4; (2) the Winslow Defendants 5; (3) Camden County
Health Services; (4) Kennedy Memorial Hospital; and (5) Ronald
B. Thompson, Esq.
Only the first three groups of Defendants
presently move to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. 6
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court incorporates by reference the standard of review
articulated in the previous opinion addressing the previous
motions to dismiss. See Reed v. Winslow Twp., 2016 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 46913 at *3-5 (D.N.J. Apr. 6, 2016).
The New Jersey Defendants are New Jersey Police Superintendent
Colonel Rick Fuentes, New Jersey Department of Children & Family
Services (“DCFS”), and DCFS Commissioner Allison Blake.
The Winslow Defendants are Winslow Township, Winslow Township
Police Chief Robert Stimelski, and Winslow Township Police
Officer Joseph Hurd.
Kennedy Memorial Hospital was not named as a Defendant in the
original complaint; the hospital was added in the Amended
Complaint. It does not appear that Kennedy Hospital was ever
served with process, and no attorney has ever entered an
appearance on the hospital’s behalf.
While the legal malpractice claim against Defendant
Thompson has been dismissed with prejudice (Count V of the
Amended and Second Amended Complaint), Thompson remains a
defendant to the fraud, negligence, and infliction of emotional
distress counts (Counts III, IV, and VI of the Amended Complaint
and Second Amended Complaint).
A. The section 1983 claims
The Section 1983 claims-- Counts I and II of the Second
Amended Complaint-- are asserted “against all defendants” and
are based on the “March 2008 event,” (Count I) and the “May 2008
event” (Count II).
Somewhat more specifically, the Second
Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff was “falsely arrested”
by “the New Jersey State Police” on March 28, 2008 (Second
Amended Complaint ¶ 92), and “falsely arrested” “by defendant
Winslow Police Officer J. Hurd” on May 9, 2008 (Second Amended
Complaint ¶ 95).
As the Court held in the previous opinion, Plaintiff’s 1983
claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations and
Plaintiff’s claims accrued in 2008. Reed, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
46913 at *7.
Further, “[o]n the face of the complaint,
Plaintiff’s § 1983 claims are barred by the two-year statute of
limitations, which expired in 2010.
complaint was filed five years later in 2015.” Id.
The Court also previously rejected Plaintiff’s tolling
argument: “Plaintiff argues the statute of limitations must be
tolled because he is disabled and still in ‘custody.’ . . .
Plaintiff’s amended complaint states that the events described
in his complaint caused him to suffer ‘extreme emotional
distress, requiring prescription medication to treat his post
traumatic syndrome condition.’ (Am. Compl. ¶ 116.)
even accepting this allegation as true, Plaintiff has not
plausibly alleged how a mental disability prevented him for the
past six years from filing a timely legal action.” Reed, 2016
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46913 at *8-9.
Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint pleads no facts
altering the Court’s prior conclusion.
Indeed, to the contrary,
Plaintiff alleges that prior to the first incident, “plaintiff
was never under psychiatric care at any time . . . is highly
educated and was in the process of completing his PhD at the
time of the event and previously was employed as a Supervisor
[at] the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services.”
(Second Amended Complaint, ¶ 37)
Therefore, Plaintiff has no
viable tolling argument.
The allegations of the Second Amended Complaint do not
alter the Court’s previous conclusion that the section 1983
claims are time-barred.
The motions to dismiss will be granted
as to the section 1983 claims.
B. The remaining state law claims
The remaining state law claims are Count III (fraud), Count
IV (negligence), and Count VI (intentional infliction of
The Third Circuit has repeatedly stated,
“‘where the claim over which the district court has original
jurisdiction is dismissed before trial, the district court must
decline to decide the pendent state law claims unless
considerations of judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to
the parties provide an affirmative justification for doing so.’”
Hedges v. Musco, 204 F.3d 109, 123 (3d Cir. 2000)(citing 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), and quoting Borough of West Mifflin v.
Lancaster, 45 F.3d 780, 788 (3d Cir. 1995))(emphasis added); cf.
Sarpolis v. Tereshko, 625 F. App’x 594, 600 (3d Cir.
2016)(affirming district court’s retention and exercise of
supplemental jurisdiction under § 1367(c)(3) because the
district court had “an affirmative justification for exercising
supplemental jurisdiction.”)(quoting Hedges).
The Court finds no sufficient affirmative justification for
retaining supplemental jurisdiction of the remaining state law
Those claims will be dismissed without prejudice to
Plaintiff’s right to refile in the appropriate state forum.
Accordingly, the motions to dismiss the state law claims will be
denied as moot.
For the reasons discussed, the motions to dismiss will be
granted as to the federal claims and denied as moot as to the
remaining state law claims.
Dated: January 19, 2017
s/ Noel L. Hillman
NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
At Camden, New Jersey
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