TRAPP v. TASSINI et al
OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Anne E. Thompson on 9/19/2014. (eaj)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 14-5044
John TASSINI, et al.,
This matter has come before the Court on the application of pro se Plaintiff Shawn Trapp
(“Plaintiff”) to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket Entry No. 1, Attach. 2). The Court has
reviewed the affidavit of indigence and the Complaint. (Docket Entry No. 1). Although the
Court will grant Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must dismiss
Plaintiff’s Complaint for failure to comply with the applicable pleading standards.
In considering applications to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court engages in a two-step
analysis. Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 n.1 (3d Cir. 1990). First, the Court determines
whether the plaintiff is eligible to proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Id. Second, the Court
determines whether the Complaint should be dismissed as frivolous or for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). See id.
1. Application to proceed in forma pauperis
The filing fee for a civil case in the United States District of New Jersey is $350.00, with
an additional $50.00 administrative fee. To avoid paying these fees, a plaintiff may submit an
application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. “In making such
application, a plaintiff must state the facts concerning his or her poverty with some degree of
particularity, definiteness or certainty.” Simon v. Mercer Cnty. Comm. College, No. 10-5505,
2011 WL 551196, at *1 (D.N.J. Feb. 9, 2011) (citing United States ex rel. Roberts v.
Pennsylvania, 312 F. Supp. 1, 2 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 1969)). A litigant need not be “absolutely
destitute” to qualify. Mack v. Curran, 457 F. App’x 141, 144 (3d Cir. 2012) cert. denied, 133 S.
Ct. 139 (2012) (internal quotations omitted).
Plaintiff’s application states that Plaintiff does not have any income or assets. Upon
review, the Court believes that Plaintiff has shown sufficient economic disadvantage to proceed
in forma pauperis.
2. Dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
Having granted Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must
screen the Complaint to determine whether dismissal is warranted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e). Under § 1915(e), the Court shall sua sponte dismiss any claims that are “(1) . . .
frivolous or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seek
monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In
making this determination, the Court reviews the Complaint under the familiar pleading
standards as reiterated and clarified in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic
Court v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Under these tenets, “[d]ismissal is appropriate where,
accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the Complaint as true and viewing them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, a court finds that the plaintiff has failed to set forth ‘fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’” Simon, 2011 WL 551196, at *1
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Any asserted claims must also be supported by “a short and
plain statement . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2).
Finally, as Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court must be mindful to construe the complaint
liberally in his favor. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); United States v. Day, 969
F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992).
Upon review, the Court finds the Complaint must be dismissed for failure to comply with
the requisite pleading standards. Plaintiff is seeking all of the transcripts pertaining to his child’s
custody hearings and $700,000,000.00 in damages for “the hardship my daughter and I had to
suffer through due to the illegal actions [of] John R. Tassini, Kathleen A Sheedy, DCP&P
Services, and David & Janee Prown in their attempt to steal my daughter under the color of law.”
(Docket Entry No. 1). Plaintiff further alleges that “John R. Tassini and Kathleen A. Sheedy not
only refuse to follow the law, but both conspired under the color of law with the assistance of
DCP&P workers to effectuate through purely private conduct to have my child given to the
Prawns despite being furnished with the laws and questioned on their justification.” (Id.). The
Complaint contains other conclusory allegations of unlawful conduct; however, the Complaint
fails to establish a factual foundation that would provide Defendants fair notice of the claims
against them. Without factual allegations to demonstrate the basis for Plaintiff’s requested relief,
Plaintiff has not satisfied the pleading requirements of Rule 8.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will grant Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma
pauperis, (Docket Entry No. 1, Attach. 2), but will sua sponte dismiss the Complaint, (Docket
Entry No. 1). An appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
/s/ Anne E. Thompson
ANNE E. THOMPSON, U.S.D.J.
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