NOT FOR PUBLICATION
JOSE L. LINARES, District Judge.
The plaintiff, who is a frequent litigant in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, is a pro se state prisoner. (
On July 27, 2016, the plaintiff was denied parole by the defendant New Jersey State Parole Board (hereinafter, "the NJSPB") because, among other things: his prior offense record was extensive and repetitive; his criminal behavior had not been deterred by his previous opportunities on probation and parole; his criminal behavior had not been deterred by his previous incarcerations; he displayed a lack of insight into his criminal behavior; and he minimized his criminal conduct. (
The plaintiff then brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (hereinafter, "Section 1983") and the New Jersey civil Rights Act (hereinafter, "the NJCRA"). He alleges that his parole was wrongfully denied in violation of his rights under the federal constitution and the New Jersey constitution by the following defendants:
(1) the NJSPB;
(2) James T. Plousis, who is the Chairman of the NJSPB; and
(3) Robin J. Stacy, who is the Director of the NJSPB's Legal Unit.
The defendants now move pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (hereinafter, "Rule") 12(b)(6) to dismiss the complaint. (
The Court resolves the defendants' motion to dismiss upon a review of the papers and without oral argument.
The Court is guided by the following standards in resolving the defendants' motion to dismiss.
A. Rule 12(b)(6)
It is not necessary for the Court to restate the standard for resolving a motion to dismiss that is made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), because that standard has been already enunciated.
B. Liberal Construction Of
Pro Se Pleadings
The Court, in addressing the defendants' motion to dismiss: (1) construed the pro se plaintiffs claims liberally; and (2) accepted all of the plaintiffs factual allegations as true, construed the claims in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and considered whether the plaintiff may be entitled to relief in federal court under any reasonable reading of those claims.
C. Section 1983 and the NJCRA
"Section 1983 creates a species of tort liability for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution."
The NJCRA does the same for the federal constitution, as well as for the New Jersey constitution.
The Court will address the issue of immunity insofar as it pertains to the NJSPB, to Plousis in his official capacity, and to Stacy in her official capacity in the first instance, and before addressing other issues. The issue of immunity is relevant to the Court's jurisdiction.
Section 1983 and the NJCRA both enable a plaintiff to bring a civil action only against a "person" who causes a deprivation of federal and state constitutional rights under the color of state law. However, "it has been squarely held in [the Third] Circuit" that the NJSPB and NJSPB officials acting in their official capacities are not subject to liability under Section 1983 or the NJCRA, because they are not deemed to be persons within the language of Section 1983 or the NJCRA.
Therefore, the Court grants the part of the motion that seeks to dismiss the Section 1983 claims and the NJCRA claims that are asserted against the NJSPB, against Plousis in his official capacity, and against Stacy in her official capacity. The plaintiffs claims that are asserted against Plousis in his individual capacity and against Stacy in her individual capacity remain, and they will be addressed
III. Individual Capacity Claims
Success on the plaintiffs claims against Plousis in his individual capacity, and against Stacy in her individual capacity, would necessarily invalidate the decision issued by the NJSPB concerning the denial of the plaintiffs parole, and thus those claims are also barred. It is well-settled law that Section 1983 claims and NJCRA claims brought by a plaintiff who is challenging a denial of parole are not cognizable unless and until the decision issued by the NJSPB has otherwise been invalidated by an appropriate tribunal.
Therefore, the Court grants the part of the motion that seeks dismissal of the Section 1983 claims and the NJCRA claims asserted against the NJSPB, against Plousis in his individual capacity, and against Stacy in her individual capacity. The Court notes that the reasoning applied to the individual-capacity claims would also apply to the official-capacity claims and the claims asserted against the NJSPB.
For the aforementioned reasons, the Court: (1) grants the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint in its entirety; and (2) dismisses the complaint.
The Court will enter an appropriate