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Williams v. Johnson

September 30, 2009

GARY D. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ERIKA JOHNSON, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

PlaintiffGary Williams brought suit against Erika Johnson, Assistant District Attorney of Sylvester Country, Georgia, asking the court to grant relief for violations of his Fourth Amendment rights arising from the issuance of an allegedly defective warrant in Sylvester County, Georgia. Before this court and ripe for disposition is defendant Johnson's motion to dismiss (docket no. 8) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, for lack of personal jurisdiction, for improper venue, and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Williams has failed to file an answer to the motion despite having been given ample time to respond.

I. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff, Gary Williams, acting pro se, filed a complaint alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights have been violated and named as the defendant Erika Johnson, a District Attorney in Sylvester County, Georgia. Williams seeks to have an outstanding warrant quashed and also seeks damages in the amount of $20,000. Compl. ¶ 4.

Williams alleges he was first arrested on October 22, 2005 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, because of a warrant issued in Sylvester County, Georgia. Compl. ¶ 2. He claims that because a proper request for extradition was never issued by Georgia, he was released after 120 days in prison. Compl ¶ 2.

Williams claims that, on February 12, 2006, he was arrested by a police officer in Huntington County, New Jersey.*fn1 Compl. ¶ 3. Williams alleges that because his friend, the driver, was unable to show identification, Williams was asked to provide his identification. Statements of Facts, page 1, appended to Motion to Request Counsel Filed May 11, 2009 (hereinafter Statement of Facts). Williams asserts that the unidentified police officer then arrested him because of outstanding warrants against him from Lawrence Township, New Jersey, and Sylvester, Georgia. Id. Williams alleges that he was unjustly held for a period of four months, due to errors in both the New Jersey and the Georgia warrants. Compl. ¶ 4. Williams further alleges that he pled guilty to the charges contained in the New Jersey warrant, in exchange for a sentence limited to time served, because he feared he was in imminent danger in prison. Statements of Facts, page 3.

Williams asserts that he was later arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 17 of 2007*fn2 based on two warrants issued in Georgia. Compl.¶ 5; Statements of Facts, page 1. Williams states that after this arrest an extradition request was issued by the State of Georgia. Statement of Facts, page 4 and attached documents labeled Attachment 4. Williams asserts he was confined for ninety days at which point the extradition proceedings were voluntarily withdrawn. Statement of Facts, page 4.

Williams claims that the warrants against him in both New Jersey and Georgia were erroneously issued because the National Association of Bunco Investigators, Inc had disseminated photographs of another man labeled with Williams' alias of "Frank Smith, Jr." Statement of Facts, page 5 and Attachment 8.

On March 16, 2009, defendant Erika Johnson filed a motion to dismiss (docket no. 8) alleging lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Williams has not filed an answer to Johnson's motion to dismiss. Since the filing of the motion to dismiss, Williams attended a pretrial conference with Magistrate Judge M. Faith Angell (docket no. 17), and filed a motion to have counsel appointed (docket no. 20), which Magistrate Judge Angell denied. Appended to Williams' motion was a statement of facts about his claims that elaborated on the factual allegations in his complaint. At the pretrial conference, Williams indicated that he was willing to voluntarily dismiss the complaint. Judge Angell's Order of April 30th, 2009 (docket no. 19). Following the pretrial conference, Williams filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial of his motion for appointment of counsel, with the same statement of facts and additional argument attached. See Motion for Reconsideration Filed June 22, 2009 (docket no. 22). In this document, Williams withdrew his consent to a voluntary dismissal. Id. at 1.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Williams' Failure to Respond to Johnson's Motion to Dismiss

Despite Williams' failure to specifically answer Johnson's motion to dismiss, the merits of the motion will be considered. Local Rule 7.1 provides that, with the exception of a motion for summary judgment, "[i]n the absence of a timely response, [a] motion may be granted as uncontested." E.D. Pa. R. 7.1(c). However, the Third Circuit has held that a motion to dismiss should not be granted merely because the non-movant has failed to file a timely answer. Stackhouse v. Mazurkiewicz, 951 F.2d 29, 30 (3d Cir. 1991). Instead, the court should consider the merits of the motion using what filings it has available. Id. Generally, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, a district court relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Because Williams has ...


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