United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
WILLIAM E. SMITH, CHIEF JUDGE.
has filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure (“Motion”). (ECF No. 2.) Plaintiff, who
is pro se, opposes Defendant’s Motion. (ECF
No. 3.) For the reasons that follow, Defendant’s Motion
is GRANTED. Plaintiff may file an Amended Complaint remedying
the issues discussed below within 30 days of this Order.
reviewing a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must
“assume the truth of all well-pleaded facts in the
complaint, drawing all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiffs’ favor.” Fitzgerald v.
Harris, 549 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2008). Additionally,
“while such litigants are not exempt from procedural
rules, [courts] hold pro se pleadings to less
demanding standards than those drafted by lawyers and
endeavor, within reasonable limits, to guard against the loss
of pro se claims due to technical defects.”
Dutil v. Murphy, 550 F.3d 154, 158 (1st Cir. 2008).
Despite the fact that pro se litigants’
complaints must be afforded a certain amount of latitude,
Plaintiff has failed to provide sufficient factual matter in
the Complaint for the Court to make any reasonable inferences
in support of his claims.
Complaint states that the basis of his claim is
“abduction” and “violation of civil
rights.” (Compl. § III, ECF No. 1.) He does not
identify any laws that were allegedly violated; however, the
Court will infer that Plaintiff is alleging a constitutional
violation under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, which states in
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, 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
out a claim under § 1983, Plaintiff must present
facts to show that his rights were violated. The
entirety of the Complaint consists solely of a legal
conclusion: that Plaintiff’s civil rights were violated
and that he was “abduct[ed]” by the Cranston
Police Department. “Judges are not expected to be
mindreaders.” Rivera-Gomez v. de Castro, 843
F.2d 631, 635 (1st Cir. 1988). Plaintiff must identify the
relevant facts that support his claim.
Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to comport with Rule 8(a)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires (i) a
short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court’s jurisdiction, (ii) a short and plain statement
of the claim, showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
and (iii) a demand for the relief sought. While the
“First Circuit holds a pro se litigant to a
standard of pleading less stringent than that for lawyers, .
. . this cannot be taken to mean that pro se
complaints are held to no standard at all.” Green
v. Massachusetts, 108 F.R.D. 217, 218 (D. Mass. 1985)
(citation omitted). Here, Plaintiff has failed to identify
grounds for jurisdiction or a demand for relief. “At a
bare minimum, even in this age of notice pleading, a
defendant must be afforded both adequate notice of any claims
asserted against him and a meaningful opportunity to mount a
defense.” Rodríguez v. Doral Mortgage
Corp., 57 F.3d 1168, 1172 (1st Cir. 1995). If, as
suspected, Plaintiff is attempting to allege a civil rights
violation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he will need to
include a statement in the Complaint that this Court has
federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1331. The Complaint will also need to include the specific
Defendants correctly assert that “[a]s a department of
the City of Cranston, the Cranston Police Department is not
itself a legal entity and, therefore, is not a proper
defendant in this action.” (Defs.’ Mot. 3, ECF
No. 2-1 (citing Bibby v. Petrucci, C.A. No.
07-463-S, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113573, at *12 n.3 (D.R.I.,
December 7, 2009); Peters v. Jim Walter Door Sales of
Tampa, Inc., 525 A.2d 46, 47 (R.I. 1987); Heaton v.
Fillion, C.A. NO. PC-2002-1510, 2004 R.I. Super. LEXIS
145, at *4-5 (R.I. Super. Ct., July 30, 2004)).) Accordingly,
Plaintiff may proceed against the City of Cranston, but not
the Cranston Police Department.
foregoing reasons, the Defendants’ motion is hereby
GRANTED and the Complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff may file an ...