TALBERT v. BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 1/18/2019. (dmr)(n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 17-7717 (NLH)(KMW)
BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS, :
143 W. Price Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Plaintiff Pro Se
Timothy J. Galanaugh, Esq.
Camden City Attorney Office
520 Market Street, Room 420
Camden, NJ 08101
Counsel for Moving Defendant City of Camden
HILLMAN, District Judge
Plaintiff Charles Talbert filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against, inter alia, Moving Defendant the City of
Camden for maltreatment he received at the Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) where he was previously housed as
a pre-trial detainee.
ECF No. 3.
Presently before the Court is
the Moving Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, which is ripe for
ECF No. 21.
Plaintiff has filed no opposition to
For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant
the Motion and dismiss the Moving Defendant City of Camden as a
The City of Camden is included as one of thirteen entities
and individuals named by Plaintiff as defendants in the
See ECF No. 3.
The Complaint provides that the
“City of Camden (the City) is a municipality, which operates the
Id., ¶ 3.
There are no allegations against the Moving
Defendant, the City of Camden, other than the allegation that it
is the municipality that operates the Camden County Correctional
Facility (“CCCF”), where the alleged maltreatment of Plaintiff
See id. at 4, 14, 17, 18, 21.
No other factual
allegation against the City of Camden is contained in the
See generally ECF No. 3.
The City of Camden has filed a Motion to Dismiss itself as
a party because it does not, in fact, operate the Camden County
Correctional Facility, and without that fact to tie the City to
the County Correctional Facility, Plaintiff cannot state a claim
See ECF No. 24-2.
In support of that argument, the
City of Camden provides a certification from the business
administrator for the City of Camden, in which the administrator
certifies that the City of Camden does not have and has not had
any legal or other responsibility regarding the operation of the
Camden County Correctional Facility, which, the administrator
certifies is a county, and not a city, entity.
See ECF No. 24-
In addition to the certification, the City of Camden
requests that the Court take judicial notice of the fact that
the Camden County Correctional Facility is a county facility,
staffed by county employees, and that the City of Camden is
unrelated to the Facility other than its physical location
within the City.
ECF No. 24-2 at 1-2.
Plaintiff has not
opposed the motion or filed any response.
Standard of Review
In a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of showing
that no claim has been presented.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading must set forth a
claim for relief which contains a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; the
complaint must provide the defendant with fair notice of the
See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
The issue in a motion to dismiss is whether the
plaintiff should be entitled to offer evidence to support the
claim, not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail.
Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir.
2008) (the Rule 8 pleading standard “‘simply calls for enough
facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will
reveal evidence of’ the necessary element.”); Nami v. Fauver, 82
F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996).
The onus is on the plaintiff to provide a well-drafted
complaint that alleges factual support for its claims.
complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not
need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to
provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
U.S. at 555 (alteration in original and internal citations
The court need not accept unsupported inferences,
Cal. Pub. Employees Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d 126,
143 (3d Cir. 2004), nor legal conclusions cast as factual
allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
without factual support are not entitled to the assumption of
truth. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(“Threadbare recitals of elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements, do not” satisfy the
requirements of Rule 8).
Once the court winnows the conclusory allegations from
those allegations supported by fact, which it accepts as true,
the court must engage in a common sense review of the claim to
determine whether it is plausible.
This is a context-specific
task, for which the court should be guided by its judicial
The court must dismiss the complaint if it fails to
allege enough facts “to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570).
A “claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw a
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
The complaint that
shows that the pleader is entitled to relief--or put another
way, facially plausible--will survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223,
229 (3d Cir. 2010).
Defendant City of Camden requests that the Court take
judicial notice of the fact that it does not and has not
operated the Camden County Correctional Facility, without which
allegation, Plaintiff cannot state a claim against it.
Under Federal Rule of Evidence 201, a court may take
judicial notice of any adjudicative fact that is generally known
within the court’s territorial jurisdiction or capable of
accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose
accuracy cannot reasonably be disputed.
Fed. R. Evid. 201(b).
“A court must take judicial notice if requested by a party and
supplied with the necessary information.” Fed. R. Evid.
Judicial notice is appropriate when deciding a
motion to dismiss because “[j]udicial notice may be taken at any
stage of the proceeding.” Fed. R. Evid. 201(f).
O’Boyle v. Braverman, 337 F. App’x 162, 164 n.2 (3d Cir. 2009)
(“Although the general rule is that a district court may not
look outside the complaint and the documents attached thereto in
ruling on a Rule 12(b) motion to dismiss, we have acknowledged
that the court may also consider matters of which judicial
notice may be taken . . . .” (quoting Staehr v. Hartford
Financial Services Group, Inc., 547 F.3d 406, 425 (2d Cir.
The fact that the Camden County Correctional Facility is
operated by the County of Camden and not the City of Camden is a
fact known within the Court’s jurisdiction, and especially
within the Camden Vicinage.
In addition, the fact is well
established by the certification attached to the Motion to
Dismiss, and the fact and its accuracy has not been disputed by
Plaintiff (nor has the Motion been opposed).
Further, the Court
notes that the Camden County website lists the Correctional
Facility on its “Offices, Departments, Agencies” webpage,
available at http://www.camdencounty.com/offices-departmentsagencies/, and it is also listed as part of the Camden County
Department of Corrections, available at
Given the lack of dispute or opposition, the knowledge of
the fact within this jurisdiction, and with the understanding
that the Court may properly notice the structure and operational
organization of governmental agencies, see Nat’l Audubon Soc. v.
Dep’t of Water & Power of City of Los Angeles, 496 F. Supp. 499,
503 (E.D. Cal. 1980) (judicially noticing that that Bureau of
Land Management acts under direction of the Secretary of
Interior and the Forest Service acts under the direction of the
Secretary of Agriculture), the Court will take judicial notice
of the fact that the County of Camden operates the Camden County
Correctional Facility, over which the City of Camden has no
legal or operational responsibility.
The Court must next determine whether Plaintiff can state a
plausible claim for relief against the City of Camden after the
Court has judicially noticed the fact that the County of
Camden--and not the City of Camden--operates the Camden County
Municipal liability under § 1983 “may
not be proven under the respondeat superior doctrine, but must
be founded upon evidence that the government unit itself
supported a violation of constitutional rights.” Bielevicz v.
Dubinon, 915 F.2d 845, 850 (3d Cir. 1990) (citing Monell v. New
York City Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978)).
municipality is liable under § 1983 only when “execution of a
government’s policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or
by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent
official policy, inflicts the injury.” Monell, 436 U.S. at 694.
Without the allegation that the City operates the Camden
County Correctional Facility and is thus responsible for it,
there are no factual allegations involving the City.
cannot state a plausible claim that the City was responsible for
a policy or custom that caused the alleged harm to him that
occurred at the Camden County Correctional Facility.
reason, the City will be dismissed without prejudice.
The Court will grant the Motion to Dismiss and dismiss
Defendant City of Camden as a party.
An appropriate order
Dated: January 18, 2019
At Camden, New Jersey
s/ Noel L. Hillman
NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
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