AGCAOILI v. CONNOLLY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Claire C. Cecchi on 4/18/17. (sr, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
ENRIQUETA B. AGCAOILI,
Civil Action No.: 2:16-cv-2730-CCCJCB
HARR, ANGELICA M.
MAKRAM MICHAIL, MARTHA LOPEZ,
ARELIS RODRIGUEZ, LEA BALDWIN,
LAUREN GARCIA, KIMBERLY MOSS,
CECCHI, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on the motions of Defendants Elizabeth Connolly,
Valerie Harr, Angelica M. Harrison, Makram Michail, Martha Lopez, Arelis Rodriguez, Lea
Baldwin, Lauren Garcia, and Judge Kimberly Moss (collectively, “Defendants”) to dismiss the
complaint ofpro se Plaintiff Enriqueta B. Agcaoili (“Plaintiff’) pursuant to federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), ECF Nos. 16, 19, 27. Plaintiff opposes the motions. ECF Nos. 21, 29, 32.
Also before the Court is Plaintiffs motion to stay and for default judgment, ECF No. 17. No oral
argument was heard. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 7$. F or the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ motions
are granted and Plaintiffs motion is denied.
The following facts are accepted as true for purposes of the instant motions. On June 11,
2015, Plaintiff walked to the Hudson County Social Welfare Services Office to apply for Medicaid.
Complaint (“CompL”) ECF No. I
¶ 10, ECF No.
1-1 at 2. Plaintiff was met by Ms. Martha Lopez,
who asked Plaintiff to sign application documents. Compl.
¶ 10. Plaintiff was tired from walking
on the hot summer day, and signed the documents without reading them or asking Ms. Lopez for
more information. Id.
¶ 11. When Plaintiff read the documents, she discovered she signed an
agreement to repay Medicaid after it was received. Id.
be removed from her file. Id.
¶ 12, 17. Plaintiff would like this form to
Plaintiff received notices on June 11.2015, June 25, 2015, and June 29, 2015 identifying
certain other documents the agency needed to complete her application. See ECF No. 1-2, Exs. B,
G, H. Plaintiff alleges one of the necessary documents was “destroyed” and that she did not
produce other documents because she “found out that [she] signed records to repay Medicaid. And
[she] was not allowed to see [her] file.” ECF 17 at 2.
On July 27, 2015, Plaintiff received a notice that she was denied Medicaid benefits because
she “did not provide the requested documents.” ECF No. 1-2, Ex. M. Plaintiff requested a fair
hearing “because of Medicaid fraud abuse.” Id. Ex. N. On September 30, 2015, Judge Barry
Antoniewitz held a hearing in which Plaintiffs son received a letter from the Judge identifying
documents required for Plaintiffs application. Id. Ex. S. On October 27, 2015, Judge Kimberly
A. Moss held a hearing on the matter. Compl. at Il. On October 28, 2015, Judge Moss issued a
decision affirming the denial of Medicaid benefits to Plaintiff because she had not provided the
requested documents. ECF 1-1 at 5.
On May 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant action. See ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges she
has “Permanent Partial Disability, back injury,
hypertension, arthritis[,] and poor eyesight.”
¶ 19. Plaintiff sustained an injury to her right shoulder and arm due to her Medicaid
¶ 17. Plaintiff also alleges that because her denture was broken she has been losing
weight, and she requires funding to purchase “Ensure” as a nutritional supplement. Id. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims for “fraud, harassment, retaliation, conspiracy, falsification and
manipulation of records, obstruction of justice, discrimination, [and] intentional infliction of
physical, mental, and emotional distress.” Id. at 2. The Complaint also alleges Defendants violated
the Americans with Disabilities Act. Id.
F or a complaint to survive dismissal pursuant to federal Rule of Civil Procedure I 2(b)(6),
it “must contain 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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.s.
544, 570 (2007)). In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all wellpleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the non-moving party. See Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 f.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 200$).
However, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint
is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbat, 556 U.S. at 67$. “Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. “A pleading that offers labels and conclusions will not do. Nor does a complaint
suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
67$ (internal citations omitted).
A pro se litigant’s complaint is held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Names
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Courts have a duty to
construe pleadings liberally and apply the applicable law, irrespective of whether apro se litigant
has mentioned it by name. Mala v, Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 244 (3d Cir. 2013);
Diuhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003); Higgins v. Beyer, 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d
Cir. 2002). A pro se complaint “can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears
beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (citing Haines, 404 U.S. at 520-21);
Bacon v. Minner, 229 F. App’x 96, 100 (3d Cir. 2007).
Plaintiffs Federal Claim
Plaintiffs Complaint appears to allege one federal claim: a violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Compi. at 1. The gravamen of Plaintiffs argument appears to be that
Defendants violated the ADA because she was discriminated against and was denied Medicaid
due to her disability. See Id. However, even under a liberal pleading standard, this claim has not
been sufficiently plead. The opinion by Judge Moss, attached to the Complaint’ indicates Plaintiff
was denied Medicaid because she refused to provide documents required by the agency. See ECF
No. 1-1. Moreover, the Complaint does not contain sufficient factual matter for the Court to
discern a plausible violation of the ADA. Accordingly, Plaintiffs ADA claim is dismissed.2
To the extent the facts alleged in the Complaint give rise to state-law claims, the Court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. The basic statutory grant of federal court subject
‘See US, Express Lines, Ltd. v. Higgins, 281 F.3d 383, 38$ (3d Cir. 2002) (“Although a district
court may not consider matters extraneous to the pleadings, a document integral to or explicitly
relied upon in the complaint may be considered without converting the motion to dismiss into one
for summary judgment.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
The Complaint, insofar as it is asserted against Judge Moss, is barred by the doctrine of judicial
immunity. “A judicial officer in the performance of his duties has absolute immunity from suit
and will not be liable for his judicial acts.” Azubuko v. Royal, 443 F.3d 302, 303 (3d Cir. 2006).
A judge will not be immune from suit for nonjudicial acts, or for judicial acts taken in the absence
of jurisdiction. Figueroa v. Blackburn. 20$ F.3d 435, 440 (3d Cir. 2000). Here, to the extent
Plaintiffs Complaint appears to be directed toward Judge Moss for judicial acts taken within her
jurisdiction, the Complaint is barred on grounds of immunity.
matter jurisdiction provides for federal-question jurisdiction and for diversity of citizenship
jurisdiction. Arbaugh v. Y& H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006) (citing 28 U.S.C.
“A plaintiff properly invokes
1331 jurisdiction when she pleads a colorable claim ‘arising under’
the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Id. Here, as Plaintiff failed to state a cognizable
federal claim the Court does not have federal question jurisdiction. To invoke
must state “a claim between parties of diverse citizenship that exceeds the required jurisdictional
amount, currently $ 75,000.”
Here, as Plaintiff cannot plead a complete diversity of
citizenship, the Court cannot consider this claim under diversity jurisdiction. further, the Court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1367(c) over any remaining
state-law claims arising in the Complaint. Accordingly, the Court dismisses Plaintiffs Complaint
in its entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs Motion to Stay and for Default Judgment
Plaintiffs motion to stay and for default judgment is denied. Even under the liberal
pleading standard afforded prose litigants, see Higgs e. AG. of the United States, 655 f.3d 333,
339-40 (3d Cir. 2011), the Court cannot discern what judicial proceeding Plaintiff requests to be
stayed, or any reasoning for a default judgment in the instant action from the motion. Accordingly,
Plaintiffs motion is denied.
for the reasons set forth above, Defendants’ motions to dismiss are granted, and Plaintiffs
motion is denied. To the extent the pleading deficiencies identified by this Court can be cured by
way of amendment. Plaintiff is hereby granted thirty (30) days to file an amended pleading. An
appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
CLAIRE C. CECCHI, U.S.D.J.
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