United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
September 16, 2005.
KAMAU A. BAILEY, Plaintiff,
BONNIE CLEMMONS, Supervisor; and ARAMARK CORPORATION, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SCHWAB, District Judge
Plaintiff, Kamau A. Bailey, an inmate confined in the Allegheny
County Jail (ACJ) commenced this action pursuant to the Civil
Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are:
Bonnie Clemmons, Supervisor at Aramark Corporation and Aramark
Corporation. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his rights
as protected by the United States Constitution by selling
individual packs of hot cocoa for 30 cents when the packages are
labeled "not for retail sale." For the reasons that follow,
Plaintiff has failed to allege a claim against Defendants with an
arguable basis in fact or law.
This Court is required to review Plaintiff's Complaint in
accordance with the amendments promulgated in the Prison
Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-134,
110 Stat. 1321 (1996). Pertinent to the case at bar is the authority
granted to federal courts for sua sponte screening and
dismissal of prisoner claims. Specifically, Congress
significantly amended Title 28 of the United States Code, section
1915, which establishes the criteria for allowing an action to
proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), i.e., without prepayment
of costs. Section 1915(e) (as amended) requires the federal
courts to review complaints filed by persons who are proceeding
in forma pauperis and to dismiss, at any time, any action that
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Legally frivolous complaints include: 1) those based upon an
indisputably meritless legal theory; and 2) those with factual
contentions that are clearly baseless. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).*fn1 A plaintiff fails to allege a
section 1983 claim if the court is satisfied "that no relief
could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved
consistent with the allegation." Hishon v. King & Spalding,
467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957). A
plaintiff must allege specific facts supporting his claims to
withstand dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) for failure to
state a claim. Brock v. St. Joseph's Hosp., 104 F.3d 358, 1996
WL 732328 (4th Cir. Dec. 23, 1996); Whitehead v. Becton, 1996
WL 761937 (D.C. Cir. 1996). Although the court construes IFP
complaints liberally, particularly in the context of dismissal on
the basis of frivolousness, the court is bound by the allegations
of the complaint.
Plaintiff is considered a "prisoner" as that term is defined
under the PLRA and he has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis in this action, see doc. no. 3. Thus his allegations
must be reviewed in accordance with the directives provided in
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Plaintiff seeks recovery under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for Defendants'
actions in selling individual packs of hot cocoa for 30 cents
when the packages are labeled "not for retail sale." In order to assert liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff
must meet two threshold requirements. He must allege: 1) that the
alleged misconduct was committed by a person acting under color
of state law; and 2) that as a result, he was deprived of rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of
the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981),
overruled in part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams,
474 U.S. 327, 330-331 (1986).
Plaintiff's allegations, construed broadly, do not assert any
possible violation of his constitutional rights. Thus, his
Complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Moreover, his
claim is frivolous and must be dismissed on that basis as well.
AND NOW, this 15th day of September, 2005, upon
consideration of plaintiff's Civil Complaint, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that the Complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted and because it is
frivolous. Because any amendment would be futile, this dismissal
is with prejudice.
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