ROGERS v. SMITH et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge John Michael Vazquez on 7/18/17. (cm, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No. 16-8872
GERALD SMITH, MICHAEL DACHISEN,
PETER KING, PETER TABBOT, & DANIEL
John Michael Vazguezg U.S.D.J.
This matter comes before the Court on the motion of Defendants Gerald Smith, Michael
Dachisen, Peter King, Peter Tabbot, and Daniel McDonald (collectively “Defendants”) to dismiss
for failure to state a claim. The Court reviewed all submissions made in support and in opposition
to the motion, and considered the motion without oral argument pursuant to L. Civ. R. 78.1(b).
For the reasons that follow, Defendants’ motion is granted.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Pro se Plaintiffs one-page Complaint1 alleges that Defendants “made a false claim
against [him]” that “did and does harm and injury to [his] good name, freedom, and property.”
‘Some of the allegations in the Complaint are not entirely clear to the Court. For instance, Plaintiff
pleads that he is “an American State National by birthright,” but that he is “not now nor was [he]
Compi. (D.E. 1). Plaintiff requests “discharge of original claim and arrest warrant,” and monetary
damages from Defendants of varying amounts. Id.
Defendants filed the current motion to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff failed to plausibly
plead a cognizable cause of action and that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. D.E. 29.
Plaintiff opposed the motion. D.E. 31, 35. Plaintiffs opposition, however, does not substantively
address Defendants’ motion.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Defendants contend that the Complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff fails to state
a claim. According to Rule 12(b)(6) of the federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court should dismiss
a complaint when it fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In analyzing a motion
to dismiss under Rule 1 2(b)(6) the court will “accept all factual allegations as true, construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable
reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Phillips v. County ofAllegheny,
515 f.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 f.3d 361, 374 n.7
(3d Cir. 2002)).
To survive dismissal, “a complaint 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, 678 (2009)
(quoting Bell Ati. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Determining whether a complaint
is plausible is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id. at 679. While not a “probability requirement,” plausibility
means “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. at 678. “A claim
ever a federal citizen subject to the jurisdiction of the ‘United States.” Compl. (D.E. 1). Plaintiff
also states that “the causal agent comes by interference with rights.” Id.
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Even if plausibly
pled, however, a complaint will not withstand a motion to dismiss if the facts alleged do not state
“a legally cognizable cause of action.” Turner v. IF. Morgan Chase & Co., No. 14-7148, 2015
WL 12826480, at *2 (D.N.J. Jan. 23, 2015). Additionally, a court is “not compelled to accept
unwarranted inferences, unsupported conclusions or legal conclusions disguised as factual
allegations.” Baraka v. McGreevey, 481 F.3d 187, 211 (3d Cir. 2007).
Defendants also argue that the Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matterjurisdiction. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3),
a complaint must be dismissed whenever the Court determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. Iwanowa v. ford Motor Co., 67 F. Supp. 2d 424, 437 (D.N.J. 1999). Defendants
here mount a facial attack to subject matter jurisdiction, which “contests the sufficiency of the
complaint because of a defect on its face.” Elbeco Inc. v. Nat’l Ret. fund, 128 F. Supp. 3d 849,
854 (E.D. Pa. 2015). For a facial attack, “the Court must consider the allegations of the complaint
as true,” much like a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. 3d. of Trs. of Trucking Emps ofN. Jersey
Welfare fund, Inc. v. Caliber Auto Transfer, Inc., No. 09-6447, 2010 WL 2521091, at *8 (D.N.J.
June 11, 2010) (quoting Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F.3d 294, 302 (3d Cir. 2006)).
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro 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. CECOM RDEC, No. 10-4558, 2010 WL 3719623, at *1
(D.N.J. Sept. 14, 2010) (citing Morse v. Lower Merion $ch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.
Here, Plaintiffs Complaint does not plausibly plead a cause of action. Plaintiff does not
identify the legal theory or theories under which he is proceeding. To this end, the Court is unable
to ascertain whether Plaintiff plausibly pleads the elements necessary to state a claim. Moreover,
Plaintiff fails to provide any facts explaining what false claims Defendants made against him or
how the false claims damaged his rights.2 For these reasons, the Complaint fails to plausibly state
a claim. Accordingly, Plaintiffs Complaint is dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).
Because the Complaint does not plausibly plead a cause of action, the Court cannot
ascertain whether it has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter. Plaintiff also fails to specify
the basis for the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction. If Plaintiff files an amended complaint, he
must indicate why this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter.
For the reasons set forth above, Defendants’ motion is granted. The Complaint is dismissed
without prejudice. Within forty-five days of this Opinion, Plaintiff may file an amended complaint
addressing the deficiencies noted herein.3 If Plaintiff does not file an amended complaint within
In their motion to dismiss, Defendants explain that this matter arises from a ticket that Plaintiff
received from the Rockaway Township Municipal Court due to having an unlicensed dog. Brief
at 1 (D.E. 29-1). Defendants attach a copy of the ticket to their motion. See id. Ex. H.
If Plaintiff files an amended complaint it shall comport with Local Civil Rule 15.1, which
effective May 10, 2017, states that:
a party who files an amended pleading in response to an Order
authorizing the filing of that pleading to cure a defect in its pleading
(1) a copy of the amended pleading, complete with a handwritten or
(2) a form of the amended pleading that shall indicate in what
respect(s) it differs from the pleading that it amends, by bracketing
or striking through materials to be deleted and underlining materials
to be added.
that time, this case will be dismissed with prejudice, which means that Plaintiff will not be able to
sue Defendants in the future for the conduct complained of in Plaintiffs Complaint.
appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
Dated: July 18, 2017
John Michael Vazquez,
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