HILL v. CHRISTIE et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Michael A. Shipp on 9/26/2014. (jjc)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
GERALD WHITE HILL,
Civil Action No. 14-2200 (MAS)
CHRISTOPHER CHRISTIE, et al.,
GERALD WHITE HILL, Plaintiff pro se
Mercer County Correction Center
P.O. Box 8068
Trenton, New Jersey 08650
SHIPP, District Judge
Plaintiff, Gerald White Hill, a state inmate confined at the Mercer County Correction
Center in Trenton, New Jersey, at the time he filed this Complaint, seeks to bring this action in
forma pauperis. On April 28, 2014, this Court issued an Order administratively terminating this
case because Plaintiff failed to either pay the requisite filing fee or submit a complete application
to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). (ECF No.3.) On May 19,2014, Plaintiff filed a complete
IFP application and asked the Court to re-open his case. (ECF No. 4.) On July 7, 2014, this
action was re-opened for screening of Plaintiffs IFP application and his Complaint. (ECF No.
Based on his affidavit of indigence and prison account statement, the Court will grant
Plaintiffs IFP application pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and order the Clerk of the Court to
file the Complaint accordingly.
Further, having reviewed the Complaint as required pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious,
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief, the Court finds that the Complaint should be
dismissed without prejudice because Plaintiff has failed to articulate any factual basis for his
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff, Gerald White Hill ("Plaintiff'), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
against Defendants, Christopher Christie, Governor ofNew Jersey; Kimberly M. Guadagno; and
Joseph Bocchini, Mercer County Prosecutor. (ECF No. 1, Complaint at Caption,
Plaintiffs Complaint and attachments are largely unintelligible. He claims that Defendants have
violated his rights "as a living breathing flesh-and-blood man" by failing to recognize his claim
of "Imperial Heredity and Nationality." (!d.,
6.) It would appear that Plaintiff is challenging
his pretrial incarceration based on a purported claim that he is not subject to the laws of the
United States or the State of New Jersey due to his status as an "Aboriginal Indigenous" man.
II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat.
1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996), requires a district court to review a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis or seeks redress against a
governmental employee or entity. Specifically, the PLRA directs the district court to screen the
complaint for cognizable claims and to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, malicious,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. This action is subject
to sua sponte screening for dismissal under both 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and§ 1915A.
The Supreme Court refined the standard for summary dismissal of a complaint that fails
to state a claim in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Citing its opinion in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) for the proposition that "[a] pleading that offers 'labels
and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do,"'
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555), the Supreme Court held that, to
prevent a summary dismissal, a civil complaint must now allege "sufficient factual matter" to
show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203,210 (3d Cir.
2009)(citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676). See also Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d 352, 365 (3d Cir. 2012)
("The touchstone ofthe pleading standard is plausibility.... "[A]llegations that are no more than
conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth; ... [a court should] "look for well-pled
factual allegations, assume their veracity, and then 'determine whether they plausibly give rise to
an entitlement to relief."') (citations omitted). In short, "[a] complaint must do more than allege
the plaintiffs entitlement to relief. A complaint has to 'show' such an entitlement with its facts."
Fowler, 578 F.3d at 211 (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79). Thus, while pro se pleadings are
liberally construed, Higgs v. Atty. Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 20011), "prose litigants still
must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim." Mala v. Crown Bay Marina,
Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). Nonetheless, courts must be cognizant
that the Iqbal standard "is not akin to a probability requirement." Covington v. International
Association of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679).
III. SECTION 1983 ACTIONS
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No.1, Compl., ,-r 1a.)
Section 1983 provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or
usage, of any State or Territory ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen
of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress ....
Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege, first, the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, that the alleged deprivation
was committed or caused by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S.
42,48 (1988); Malleus v. George, 641 F,3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011).
As discussed above, Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that Plaintiff
present facts sufficient to show that each Defendant would be liable for the claims presented
against him or her by Plaintiff. Here, this Court finds that Plaintiffs claims, which are mostly
unintelligible, are not factually sufficient to proceed past the screening stage at this time. First,
Plaintiff has not alleged a deprivation of a constitutional right under § 1983. Second, Plaintiff
fails to articulate the actions or omissions of each Defendant or how they allegedly violated his
Instead, Plaintiff resorts to espousing incomprehensible socio-political beliefs in an effort
to void criminal prosecution and obtain his release from confinement. Thus, by the very limited
or complete lack of facts stated in the Complaint, Plaintiff has not shown that he is entitled to
relief pursuant to Iqbal, which requires that Plaintiff demonstrate that the allegations of his
complaint are plausible. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-79. Therefore, the Court dismisses this
action without prejudice to Plaintiff filing an amended Complaint that conforms to the
requirements of Rule 8 and Iqbal.
For the reasons set forth above, the Complaint is dismissed without prejudice, in its
entirety, as against all named Defendants, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii) and
1915A(b)(l). This dismissal is without prejudice to Plaintiff filing an amended Complaint to
cure the deficiencies of his pleading as discussed above. 1 An appropriate order follows.
United States District Judge
Cf ( iM
Plaintiff should note that when an amended complaint is filed, it supersedes the original and
renders it of no legal effect, unless the amended complaint specifically refers to or adopts the
earlier pleading. See West Run Student Housing Associates, LLC v. Huntington National Bank,
No. 12-2430, 2013 WL 1338986, *5 (3d Cir. April 4, 2013) (collecting cases). See also 6
Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1476 (3d ed.2008).
An amended complaint may adopt some or all of the allegations in the original complaint, but the
identification of the particular allegations to be adopted must be clear and explicit. !d. To avoid
confusion, the safer course is to file an amended complaint that is complete in itself. !d.
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