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Kelley v. SCI-Frackville

February 13, 2006

EDWARD C. KELLEY, PLAINTIFF
v.
SCI -FRACKVILLE ADMINISTRATORS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Background

Edward C. Kelley ("Plaintiff" or "Kelley"), an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, in Frackville, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Frackville"), initiated this pro se civil rights action. Following service of the original complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting leave to submit an amended complaint. By Order dated April 4, 2005, Kelley's motion was granted and Defendants' motion to dismiss the original complaint was denied as moot.

On April 11, 2005, Kelley filed an amended complaint. Named as Defendants therein are: SCI-Frackville, "Administrators and Staff" at his prior place of confinement, the State Correctional Institution, in Waymart, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Waymart"), and the Central Office Executive Staff.*fn1 (Rec. Doc. 22, at 1).

Kelley's amended complaint generally alleges that he was denied adequate medical treatment at both prisons. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that due to the failure of prison officials to provide him adequate mental health treatment, he is not eating or taking care of himself and has become suicidal. He next claims that SCI-Frackville staff have interfered with his right of access to the courts by destroying his legal papers and denying him access to writing paper. His amended complaint does not set forth what type of relief is being sought.*fn2

Presently pending before the Court is Defendants' motion seeking dismissal of the amended complaint. (Rec. Doc. 23). The motion is ripe for consideration.

Discussion

Defendants seek dismissal of the amended complaint on the grounds that:

(1) Kelley's claims, to the extent that he seeks monetary damages, are barred by the Eleventh Amendment and (2) the amended complaint, to the extent that it may seek injunctive relief, is inadequate because none of the named Defendants are persons for purposes of § 1983.

Since the submission of Defendants' supporting brief, Plaintiff has made various filings, including a motion for partial summary judgment, indicating that he is opposed to the proposed dismissal of his amended complaint. However, none of Kelley's filings address Defendants' pending arguments for dismissal.*fn3

A court, in rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, must accept the veracity of the plaintiff's allegations. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); White v. Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). In Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996), the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit added that when considering a motion to dismiss based on a failure to state a claim argument, a court should "not inquire whether the plaintiffs will ultimately prevail, only whether they are entitled to offer evidence to support their claims." "[A] complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957).

"The test in reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is whether, under any reasonable reading of the pleadings, plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Holder v. City of Allentown, 987 F.2d 188, 194 (3d Cir. 1993) (citation omitted). Additionally, a court must "accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them." Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990); Independent Enters., Inc. v. Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Auth., 103 F.3d 1165, 1168 (3d Cir. 1997). Finally, it is additionally well-settled that pro se complaints should be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). This Court will now discuss Defendants' motion in light of the standards set forth above and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

A. Eleventh Amendment

Defendants argue that the claims against them should be dismissed on the grounds that they are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a § 1983 action brought against a "State and its Board of Corrections is barred by the Eleventh Amendment unless [the State] has consented to the filing of such a suit." Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978). The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has similarly concluded that the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole ...


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