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Noble v. State

United States District Court, D. Delaware

November 7, 2017

THOMAS E. NOBLE, Plaintiff,
STATE OF DELAWARE, et al., Defendants.

          Thomas E. Noble, James T. Vaughn Center, Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Joseph Clement Handlon, Deputy Attorney General Deputy, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants State of Delaware, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, Deputy Attorney General Abigail R. Layton, and R. Irwin.


          STARK, U.S. District Judge.


         Plaintiff Thomas E. Noble ("Plaintiff) filed this action on March 10, 2017 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] He proceeds pro se, sought and was denied in forma pauperis status, and has paid the filing fee.[2] (See D.I. 2, 8) Plaintiff was not incarcerated when he commenced this action. His October 11, 2017 letter indicates that he is currently an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. (See D.I. 24) The Court has jurisdiction by reason of a federal question pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Presently before the Court are Defendants' motion to dismiss (D.I. 17)[3] and numerous motions filed by Plaintiff (D.I. 18, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33). The Court will grant the motion to dismiss for the reasons discussed below.


         As noted by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Plaintiff "is a serial litigator. He has filed over five do2en lawsuits in federal district courts, including over 30 complaints in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware." In re Noble, 663 Fed.Appx. 188, 189 (3d Cir. Oct. 6, 2016). Here, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, most of whom are State actors, violated his constitutional rights when he was wrongfully imprisoned from November 21, 2013 until April 13, 2016, on allegedly false charges of dealing in child pornography.[4] (D.I. 7) Plaintiff alleges Defendants worked in a common scheme /conspiracy to misuse the State's power on the false charges of dealing in child pornography. Alternatively, he alleges Defendants colluded with other Defendants. Plaintiff also appears to allege that he was defamed. He seeks compensator}[7]damages, an order that the State of Delaware remove all traces of the prosecution and a petty shoplifting charge, and criminal prosecution of Defendants.

         The Court takes judicial notice that on January 6, 2014, Plaintiff was indicted on 25 counts of dealing in child pornography. See State of Delaware v. Noble, Grim. ID No. 1311014361 (Civ. No. 16-406-LPS at D.I. 1 at 53-54). He was arraigned on February 22, 2014 and pled not guilty. (See id.) Plaintiff entered into a plea agreement on April 14, 2016, pursuant to which he pled guilty to one count of dealing in child pornography and the remaining charges were nolle prossed. (D.I. 17 at 8) Defendant Layton represented the State in the case against Plaintiff. (Id. at 8-9) Defendant Judge Diane C. Streett ("Judge Stteett") entered orders in the criminal matter.

         Moving Defendants seek dismissal on the grounds that the complaint fails to state a plausible federal claim against them, it is unclear if Plaintiff seeks to raise supplemental State claims, many of the defendants are immune from suit, and Plaintiffs claims are precluded by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).


         A. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)

         Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the dismissal of an action for "lack of subject matter jurisdiction." A Rule 12(b)(1) motion may be treated as either a facial or factual challenge to the court's subject matter jurisdiction. See Constitution Party of Pa. p. Akbele, 757 F.3d 347, 357-58 (3d Cir. 2014). In reviewing a facial attack, "the court must only consider the allegations of the complaint and documents referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Id. at 358 (quoting In re Sobering Plough Corp. v. Intron, 678 F.3d 235, 243 (3d Cir. 2012)). In reviewing a factual attack, the court may consider evidence outside the pleadings. See Mortensen v. First Fed. Sap. and Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). In addition, the court "is free to weigh the evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power to hear the case, " even where disputed material facts exist. Id. at 891. In a factual challenge, the plaintiff has the burden of persuasion to show that jurisdiction exists, Id.

         B. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)

         Evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires the Court to accept as true all material allegations of the complaint. See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Utig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1420 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court may grant such a motion to dismiss only if, after "accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and viewing them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, plaintiff is not entitled to relief." Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 481-82 (3d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp, v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson p. City ofShelby, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not be ...

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