MURTADA v. U.S. DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION et al
LETTER OPINION. Signed by Judge John Michael Vazquez on 5/1/2017. (JB, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JOHN MICHAEL VAZQUEZ
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG
POST OFFICE AND
FEDERAL SQUARE, ROOM
NEWARK, NJ 07102
May 1, 2017
Murtada v. U.S. Dept. of Transp., et al,
Civil Action No. 16-04639
The Court is in receipt of pro se Plaintiffs Amended Complaint. See D.E. 10. On June
17, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiffs request to proceed informa pauperis, but dismissed the
Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim. Docket No. 16-3057, D.E. 2. Plaintiff
then filed another Complaint concerning the same subject matter under the above-captioned docket
number, 16-04639. D.E. I. On October 27, 2016, the Court again dismissed Plaintiffs Complaint
without prejudice for failure to state a claim. D.E. 4. On December 12, 2016, Plaintiff filed another
complaint under another docket number, 16-9125, which the Court dismissed and ordered that if
Plaintiff chose to file an amended complaint, he must do so under docket number 16-0439 within
thirty days. Docket No. 16-9 125, D.E. 2.
On January 19, 2017, Plaintiff requested a one-month extension of time to file an amended
complaint, which the Court granted. D.E. 8. Plaintiff indicated that the extension was necessary
so that he could retain counsel in this matter. D.E. 7. On approximately february 22, 2017,
prospective counsel contacted the Court via telephone and indicated that she may be retained, and
requested additional time to file an amended complaint. D.E. 9. The Court granted the extension
ordering that if Plaintiff chose to file an amended complaint, he must do so on or before March 17,
2017, whether through counsel or proceeding pro se. Id. It appears that Plaintiff ultimately did
not retain counsel. On March 17, 2Ol7,pro se Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint. D.E. 10.
When allowing a plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must review the
complaint and dismiss the action if it determines that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who
is immune. 28 U.S.C. § l915(e)(2). “A complaint is frivolous if it ‘lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact.” Okpor v. Sedgwick dM5, No. 12-6521, 2013 WL 1145041, at *1 (D.N.J. Mar.
1$, 2013) (quoting Neitzke v. I’Villiams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989)). And when considering
dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, the
Court must apply the same standard of review as that for dismissing a complaint under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Schreane v. Seana, 506 fed. App’x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012).
In addition, “[a] federal court is bound to consider its own jurisdiction preliminary to
consideration of the merits.” Kaplan v. Garrison, No. 15-1915, 2015 WL 2159827, at *2 (D.N.J.
May 6, 2015) (quoting Trent Realty Assocs. v. First Fed. Say. & Loan Ass’n of Phila., 657 F.2d
29, 36 (3d Cir.1981)). If subject-matter jurisdiction is lacking, the Court must dismiss the action.
fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). A federal court has jurisdiction in a civil case if either a federal question
is presented or if the parties are completely diverse and the attendant monetary threshold is
satisfied. See Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006).
Because Plaintiff is proceedingpro Se, the Court construes the pleadings liberally and holds
them to a less stringent standard than those filed by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). “The Court need not, however, credit apro se plaintiffs ‘bald assertions’ or ‘legal
conclusions.” D’Agostino v. CECOMRDEC, No. 10-4558, 2010 WL 3719623, at *1 (D.N.J.
Sept. 10, 2010) (citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 f.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997)).
The facts of this matter are described in detail in the Court’s October 27, 2016 Opinion.
D.E. 4. Plaintiffs Amended Complaint does not include any of the factual allegations described
in his previously filed Complaints.1 The Amended Complaint alleges that “Defendants made
factual error, discrimination due to his background authentics (sic) and negligence in rejecting the
due to this factual error the plaintiff
Plaintiffi’s] operating authority by their written order
suffered a hudge (sic) amount of loss and damages as addressed [in] the orgional (sic) compalint
(sic).”2 D.E. 10.
The Amended Complaint fails to plausibly assert a cognizable claim against Defendants.
Even when viewing the Amended Complaint liberally, and including the allegations from the
August 2, 2016 Complaint (D.E. 1), the Court is unable to ascertain an identifiable claim upon
which relief can be granted.
As noted in the Court’s October 27, 2016 Opinion, the initial Complaint did not state a
viable cause of action. The additional allegations in the Amended Complaint do not remedy the
deficiencies identified by the Court. The Amended Complaint does not allege any facts much
less plausible facts to support a cause of action. Even when construed liberally, Plaintiff makes
only a conclusory statement that Defendants discriminated against him and were negligent, without
providing any facts to support his claim.3
The Amended Complaint is two pages long and is written in a manner more akin to a letter.
The Amended Complaint was also written in all capital letters.
The Court assumes that when Plaintiff states that he was discriminated against due to his
“background authentics” that he means he was discriminated against due to his race or ethnicity.
Even when employing this liberal construction, the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim.
Although Plaintiff requests to amend the Complaint “to include the discrimination against
him” (D.E. 10), the Court made clear in its February 22, 2017 Order that “no further extensions
shall be granted, (D.E. 9). If Plaintiff wanted to include facts about any alleged discrimination, he
was required to do so in the Amended Complaint. The Court has dismissed Plaintiffs Complaint
without prejudice three times and provided him with multiple extensions that have amounted to
months of time to file a proper complaint. Therefore, Plaintiffs request for an additional extension
is denied and the Amended Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
In conclusion, Plaintiffs Amended Complaint is dismissed with prejudice. This means the
matter is closed and Plaintiffmay not re-file another complaint against the named defendants based
on the allegations raised in this case. An appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
Johk Michael VazeU.S.D.J.
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