ROCKEMORE v. CITY OF CAMDEN
Opinion & Order Granting #1 -2 Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis; Ordering the Clerk to file the #1 Complaint. Plaintiff shall have twenty days to amend his complaint. If Plaintiff fails to do so, this case will be dismissed. The Clerk shall serve a copy of this Order upon Plaintiff by regular U.S. mail. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 5/17/2023. (jab,N.M.)
Case 1:23-cv-01718-NLH-EAP Document 6 Filed 05/17/23 Page 1 of 6 PageID: 24
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
TYRONE P. ROCKEMORE,
OPINION and ORDER
CITY OF CAMDEN,
2021 SOUTH 9TH STREET
CAMDEN, NJ 08104
Appearing pro se
HILLMAN, District Judge
WHEREAS, Plaintiff, Tyrone Rockemore, appearing pro se,
filed a complaint against the City of Camden arising out of
injuries he sustained from unnamed, third parties who allegedly
stabbed him on July 19, 2019; and
WHEREAS, Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed
without prepayment of fees (“in forma pauperis” or “IFP”
application), and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a court
may allow a litigant to proceed without prepayment of fees if he
submits a proper IFP application; and
WHEREAS, although § 1915 refers to “prisoners,” federal
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courts apply § 1915 to non-prisoner IFP applications, Hickson v.
Mauro, 2011 WL 6001088, *1 (D.N.J.2011) (citing Lister v. Dept.
of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir. 2005) (“Section
1915(a) applies to all persons applying for IFP status, and not
just to prisoners.”) (additional citations omitted); and
WHEREAS, the screening provisions of the IFP statute
require a federal court to dismiss an action sua sponte if,
among other things, the action is frivolous or malicious, or if
it fails to comply with the proper pleading standards, see 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448,
452 (3d Cir. 2013); Martin v. U.S. Department of Homeland
Security, 2017 WL 3783702, at *1 (D.N.J. August 30, 2017)
(“Federal law requires this Court to screen Plaintiff’s
Complaint for sua sponte dismissal prior to service, and to
dismiss any claim if that claim fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
and/or to dismiss any defendant who is immune from suit.”); and
WHEREAS, pro se complaints must be construed liberally, and
all reasonable latitude must be afforded the pro se litigant,
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976), but pro se litigants
“must still plead the essential elements of [their] claim and
[are] not excused from conforming to the standard rules of civil
procedure,” McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993)
(“[W]e have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary
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civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes
by those who proceed without counsel.”); Sykes v. Blockbuster
Video, 205 F. App’x 961, 963 (3d Cir. 2006) (finding that pro se
plaintiffs are expected to comply with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure); and
WHEREAS, while the Court finds Plaintiff’s IFP application
sufficient for such status, the Court also finds after its
initial screening that Plaintiff’s complaint is deficient in the
On the form complaint provided by the Court for pro se
plaintiffs, Plaintiff has checked the box for federal question
jurisdiction, but in order to invoke federal question
jurisdiction, Plaintiff must plead a violation of the United
States Constitution or the laws of the United States.
Const, Art III, Section 2 (providing that federal courts can
hear “all cases, in law and equity, arising under this
Constitution, [and] the laws of the United States . . . .”); 28
U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”).
Although Plaintiff alleges the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
as the underlying basis for federal question jurisdiction, he
has not alleged how Defendant violated these constitutional
provisions or any federal law; and
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Plaintiff’s complaint fails to comply with Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a)(2), which requires that a pleading must contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitled to relief.”
Plaintiff’s complaint avers that on
July 19, 2019, he was stabbed in the chest by two “unknown
individuals [who] were seemingly laying in wait for a victim.”
(ECF 1 at 3).
He asserts that the stabbing pierced his heart
and required various treatments including emergency trauma
treatment and open-heart surgeries.
(Id. at 4).
that the City of Camden failed to protect him and that “the
municipality lacked enforcement officers.”
does not articulate any basis for why the City of Camden may
bear liability for an assault by unknown and presumably private
WHEREAS, this is Plaintiff’s fourth complaint filed with
this Court arising from the same alleged facts.
first complaint filed on May 4, 2021 against the City of Camden
at 1:21-cv-10713-NLH-KMW was dismissed by this Court on
September 28, 2021 for failing to identify the basis for this
Court’s jurisdiction and failing to state a specific legal basis
for his claims.
(1:21-cv-10713-NLH-KMW, ECF 4).
second complaint filed on May 12, 2021 against Rite Aid Corp. at
1:21-cv-11118-NLH-SAK was dismissed by this court on June 21,
2021 for failing to adequately state a claim.
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NLH-SAK, ECF 2).
Plaintiff’s third complaint filed on May 5,
2022 against the City of Camden at 1:22-cv-01942-NLH-EAP was
dismissed by this Court on December 6, 2022 for failing to
specify a violation of a constitutional provision or law and
failing to identify the location of the incident.
01942-NLH-EAP, ECF 5).
WHEREAS Plaintiff’s instant complaint does not include any
further specificity or explanation, but instead reiterates the
same substance of his prior complaints against the City of
Camden; therefore, this Court must dismiss this complaint for
again failing to identify a basis for this Court’s jurisdiction
and failing to state a specific legal basis and sufficient facts
to support a plausible claim for relief.
IT IS on this 17th day of May, 2023
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s IFP application (ECF 1-2) be, and
the same hereby is, GRANTED, and the Clerk is directed to file
Plaintiff’s complaint; and it is further
ORDERED that Plaintiff shall have twenty (20) days to amend
his complaint to properly cure the deficiencies noted above.
Plaintiff fails to do so, this case will be dismissed for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction and, in the alternative, for
failure to state a claim.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), (b)(6),
and (h)(3); and it is further
Case 1:23-cv-01718-NLH-EAP Document 6 Filed 05/17/23 Page 6 of 6 PageID: 29
ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall serve a copy of
this Order upon Plaintiff by regular U.S. mail.
s/ Noel L. Hillman
NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
At Camden, New Jersey
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