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Retzler v. Marrone

August 5, 2009

WESTLEY RETZLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRISTOPHER M. MARRONE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Schiller, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Westley Retzler has recently filed a multitude of Complaints in this District. In each case, Retzler is proceeding pro se and has been granted in forma pauperis (IFP) status. Retzler's handwritten Complaints name a myriad of individuals and entities, with many Defendants being named in multiple lawsuits. The Complaints are best described as a hodgepodge of alleged wrongs perpetrated against him (and his sometimes co-Plaintiff Laura Warden) by private citizens, public officials, and the government of Bucks County.

The above-captioned case centers around an attorney Retzler hired to defend him in a criminal action. Retzler claims his attorney failed to properly represent him and that the district attorney handling the matter reneged on a deal she reached with Retzler's lawyer. Retzler also alleges that certain Defendants failed to properly investigate the charges brought against him. Following a Court Order, Retzler filed an Amended Complaint. Three motions to dismiss are currently before this Court. For the reasons below, the motions are granted.

I. BACKGROUND

In August of 2006, Retzler first met with attorney Christopher Marrone regarding charges the Bucks County District Attorney had brought against Retzler for the theft of over $20,000 from the estate of Retzler's grandmother, of which Retzler was the executor. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1.) At the meeting, Marrone informed the pair that he would need to obtain and review documents. (Id. ¶ 3.) Retzler paid a $5000 retainer to Marrone and signed a legal services agreement. (Id.) Marrone later wrote to Retzler and promised to notify him as soon as the court set a hearing date. (Id. ¶ 5.) On or about September 25, 2006, Marrone phoned Retzler to inform him that Retzler's trial had been continued; shortly thereafter, Retzler received a notice that he had an October 23, 2006 court date. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) Retzler and Warden met with Marrone on October 13, 2006 and gave him an additional $2500, though they did not discuss the case during the meeting. (Id. ¶¶ 8-10.) Marrone told Retzler that he had spoken with Bucks County District Attorney Monica Furber and that they had reached an agreement to dismiss three of the four charges against Retzler and to reduce the remaining charge, to which Retzler would plead guilty to a misdemeanor, for which Retzler would pay restitution. (Id. ¶ 11.)

When Retzler showed up for court, he was shocked to find that all of the charges stood "as originally filed even though all restitution was paid prior to the trial" and that Marrone stood there and took no action. (Id. ¶ 12.) Retzler claims that Furber reneged on her word, violating the plea agreement, and that Marrone sold him out. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) During an October 30, 2006 hearing/trial, Furber gave Marrone a cashier's check for over $13,000 and Marrone in turn gave the check to Retzler and told him to make it payable in three separate checks of different amounts.*fn1 (Id. ¶ 20.)

On December 28, 2006, Retzler received a check for $1,617.21 from the Bucks County Clerk of Courts. (Id. ¶ 21.) Retzler contacted Marrone to ensure that no mistake had been made and Marrone assured Retzler that he could keep the check. (Id. ¶ 22.) In fact, despite Marrone's reassurances, Retzler has learned that he owes restitution. (Id. ¶ 26.) According to documents submitted by Retzler, the check for $1,617.21 "was distributed in error to the defendant" and was "added as restitution" against Retzler. Although a court appearance was scheduled to modify Retzler's sentence, Retzler has not had face-to-face contact with Marrone since November of 2006 and has had no contact with Marrone since January of 2007. (Id. ¶ 23.)

Retzler also asserts that neither Marrone nor Furber notified him of a Civil Judgment entered against him on July 25, 2007. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) A collection agency has contacted Retzler in an attempt to collect on this Civil Judgment. (Id. ¶ 27.)

Retzler claims that the Falls Township Police, specifically Martial Belinsky, investigated the theft charges against Retzler. (Id. ¶ 17.) Belinsky was allegedly out to get Retzler because Retzler previously had been acquitted of an attempt to lure a child with a motor vehicle charge that Belinsky had filed against Retzler. (Id.) Belinsky failed to question Retzler before theft charges were filed. (Id. ¶ 19.)

Retzler "seeks the One Thousand Six Hundred and Seventeen Dollars and any other extra fees the Order of Modified Restitution imposed and the collection agency fees." (Compl. ¶ 29.) He also seeks damages for Marrone's misrepresentations and deception, as well as the acts of Belinsky and Furber. (Id. ¶ 30.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a district court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.

See Bd. of Trs. of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman Local 6 of N.J. Welfare Fund v. Wettlin Assocs., Inc., 237 F.3d 270, 272 (3d Cir. 2001). A court should read the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and determine whether a reasonable reading indicates that relief may be warranted. Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Servs., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). A court need not credit "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions" when deciding a motion to dismiss. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Because Retzler is acting pro se, this Court must construe his Complaint liberally and apply the applicable law, even if Retzler failed to mention it by name. See Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 234 (3d Cir. 2004); Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003).

"Factual allegations [in a complaint] must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. Although the federal rules impose no probability requirement at the pleading stage, a plaintiff must present "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]" of a cause ...


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