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Williams v. USP-Lewisburg

December 10, 2009

TERRY FAISON WILLIAMS, ET AL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
USP-LEWISBURG, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas I. Vanaskie United States District Judge

(Judge Vanaskie)

MEMORANDUM

Background

Terry Faison Williams, proceeding pro se, initiated this civil rights complaint regarding the death of her brother, Louis T. Faison, who passed away on April 2, 2008 while confined at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (USP-Lewisburg).*fn1

Along with her Complaint, Williams, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, has submitted an application requesting leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Williams' application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted for the sole purpose of the filing of this action.

Named as Defendants are USP-Lewisburg, its Warden, Medical Staff, and Guards, as well as the Union County Coroner's Office. (Dkt. Entry # 1, ¶ 2.) The Complaint, which is accompanied by sixty-eight (68) pages of exhibits, claims that constitutional misconduct led to her brother's "wrongful death." (Id. at ¶ 1.) Williams generally asserts as follows:

Prisoner's right to medical care and treatment should be enforced and when that does not happen and death results do [sic] to the neglect on the part of medical professionals and federal authorities criminal charges should be filed. No one is above the law. (Id. at ¶ 4.)

The Complaint is currently before the Court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b). For the reasons that follow, the Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.

Discussion

When considering a complaint accompanied by a motion to proceed informapauperis, a district court may rule that process should not issue if the complaint is malicious, presents an indisputably meritless legal theory, or is predicated on clearly baseless factual contentions. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989), Douris v. Middleton Township, 293 Fed. Appx. 130, 132 (3d Cir. 2008).*fn2 Indisputably meritless legal theories are those "in which either it is readily apparent that the plaintiff's complaint lacks an arguable basis in law or that the defendants are clearly entitled to immunity from suit ... ." Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting Sultenfuss v. Snow, 894 F.2d 1277, 1278 (11th Cir. 1990)).

Relief

The sole relief specifically sought by the Complaint is Plaintiff's request that criminal charges be initiated against various USP-Lewisburg and Union County Coroner's Office employees. It is well settled that "[t]here is no federal right to require the government to initiate criminal proceedings." Gimbi v. Fairbank Capital Corp., 207 Fed. Appx. 143, 144 (3d Cir. 2006); Kloss v. Pearce, 2009 WL 2231221* 3 (D.N.J. July 22, 2009)( a private citizen cannot compel the state or federal government to initiate a investigation or prosecution because it is a function of governmental discretion). Accordingly, Plaintiff's sole request for relief is not properly raised in a federal civil rights action.

Standing

A plaintiff must have standing in order to bring a claim in federal court. Standing is established when a plaintiff shows that he has "suffered an injury in fact -- an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized; and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992); Marin v. Leslie, 2009 WL 1949136 * 1 (3d Cir. July 8, 2009). A plaintiff must "allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief." Patel v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 515 F.3d 807, 816 (2008) (citing Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984). It is appropriate ...


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