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Mincy v. Klem

August 31, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Conner)


Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss (Doc. 35) plaintiff Hilton Mincy's ("Mincy") amended complaint (Doc. 25) pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), filed by defendants Sharon Burks ("Burks"), Joan Holden ("Holden"), and Joseph Nevis ("Nevis"). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

I. Statement of Facts*fn1

On April 3, 2005, Mincy found rocks in his food. (Doc. 25, p. 7). He believes that officers named as defendants in a separate lawsuit, Mincy v. Chmielewski, 1:05-CV-292, "were the ones who may had [sic] put the 'rocks' in his tray." (Doc. 25, p. 7). On April 11, 2005, he filed grievance #114795 concerning this incident. (Id.). On May 30, 2005, the grievance was denied. (Doc. 25, p. 12). He filed an appeal, which was denied on June 12, 2005. He then appealed the grievance to final review. On August 12, 2005, he was notified by defendant Burks that his appeal was denied. (Doc. 25, p. 12). He alleges that defendant Burks "knowingly and intentionally conspired with defendants to deprive [him] of adequate and meaningful state remedy. Defendant [] Burks acted with deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's plight, with the sole intent of depriving him of adequate and meaningful state remedy in violation of [his] United States and Pennsylvania Constitutional rights, and or state law torts."

On July 1, 2005, Mincy sent a package containing thirteen copies of the original complaint in this action, a letter, and four cash slips, two of which were related to the filing of the complaint in this court, to the business office for processing. (Doc. 25, pp. 26-30). He became "suspicious" when the cash slips related to the lawsuit were not timely processed and sent a letter of inquiry to the business office. (Doc. 25, p. 13). Defendant Holden informed him that "his money was in escrow because it had to be cleared by the bank. It will be done as soon as possible." (Doc. 25, p. 31). Mincy was subsequently notified that the cash slips were processed on July 15, 2005. (Doc. 25, p. 33).

On July 21, 2005, he filed grievance number 124237 concerning the delay in processing his cash slips. (Doc. 25, pp. 14, 36-37). Defendant Nevis responded to the grievance on July 26, 2005 as follows:

Inmate accounting received your cash slips for the $250.00 filing fee on July 1, 2005 as you state. It was then placed in a bin with other cash slips to be processed. The date the cash slips were processed, your $250.00 was not processed. It was processed the next time outside purchases were deducted, July 15, 2005. An investigation into the matter revealed that your $250.00 cash slip was inadvertently placed behind a folder and missed when the July 8 cash slips were processed. You did have enough funds as you state on July 8, 2005 as your funds by that time were unescrowed.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you as this was unintentional and mistakes sometimes occur when dealing with the volume of paperwork inmate accounting handles. (Doc. 25, p. 38). Mincy alleges that defendant Holden "conspired with defendants to conceal the defendants [sic] and/or her unlawful detention and obstruction of [his] complaint (mail) -- civil suit." (Doc. 25, p. 18). He contends that defendant Nevis "conspired with defendants to not only conceal the defendants [sic] unlawful and deliberate obstruction of the plaintiff's mail, but knowingly intended to deprive plaintiff of meaningful and adequate state remedy through the grievance process."

II. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of a claim that fails to assert a basis upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). In the context of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. Langford v. City of Atlantic City, 235 F.3d 845, 847 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts alleged in the complaint, it "may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (stating that, although "a district court ruling on a motion to dismiss may not [generally] consider matters extraneous to the pleadings[,] . . . a document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint" may be considered "without converting the motion [to dismiss] into one for summary judgment") (quoting Shaw v. Digital Equip. Corp., 82 F.3d 1194, 1224 (1st Cir. 1996)).

The court will not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond a doubt that "no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002). "The complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately put[s] the defendant on notice of the essential elements of the plaintiff's cause of action." Langford, 235 F.3d at 847. The court must grant leave to amend before dismissing a complaint that is merely deficient. See Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000).

III. Discussion

A. Retaliation

Defendants first seek to dismiss the amended complaint on the grounds that plaintiff fails to state a retaliation claim against these defendants. (Doc. 36, p. 3). However, even the most liberal reading of the amended complaint fails to unearth such a claim against these individuals.*fn2 ...

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