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Reed v. DeRose

March 3, 2010


Hon. John E. Jones III



Plaintiff James Reed filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while he was confined at the Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He subsequently was released. Named as Defendants are the following employees of the Dauphin County Prison: Warden Dominick DeRose, Captain Mark Jeszenka, Captain Madden, and Captain Patrick Corkle*fn1 . Plaintiff seeks to hold Defendants liable for his extended confinement at the Dauphin County Prison after his immediate release was directed by the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas on February 13, 2009.

Service of the Complaint was directed by Order dated June 10, 2009. (Doc. 8.) Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) that was filed on behalf of Defendants on August 24, 2009. (Doc. 12.) After being directed to file his opposition by Order dated October 8, 2009 (Doc. 14), Reed filed his opposition brief on October 15, 2009 (Doc. 15). Therefore, the Motion is ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion will be granted.


In considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)).

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of the complaint against the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a). Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, "in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555. A plaintiff must make "a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief", and "without some factual allegation in the complaint, a claimant cannot satisfy the requirement that he or she provide not only 'fair notice,' but also the 'grounds' on which the claim rests." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n. 3). "[A] complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct, and the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 563 n.8. Therefore, "stating a claim requires a complaint with enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest the required element." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n. 3).

On the other hand, "a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or will ultimately prevail on the merits." Id. at 231(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56, 563 n.8). Rule 8 "'does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage', but instead 'simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element.'" Id. at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).


Reed alleges that, on February 13, 2009, he was sentenced in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas to time served from September 17, 2008 through February 13, 2009. (Id. at 2 ¶ 1.) A fine of $225.00 was imposed, and Reed's immediate release was directed. (Id.) Upon his return to the Dauphin County Prison at 10:30 a.m., Reed was told that the court had not faxed paperwork for his release. (Id. ¶ 2.) At 6:30 p.m., Reed was told that Cumberland County had a detainer against him. (Id.) However, Reed claims that the detainer in Cumberland County was dismissed on December 16, 2008 after he appeared in Cumberland County Court and was sentenced on a bad check charge to one year probation and directed to pay a fine of $239.00. (Id. ¶ 3.)

On February 13, Defendant Jeszenka checked the computer and verified that the Cumberland County detainer no longer existed. (Id. ¶ 4.) Reed was told that a release order would be submitted to records by 9:00 a.m. the next morning and that he would be released. (Id.)

The next morning, February 14, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., Reed was told that nobody was working in the Records Department that day because it was a Saturday and that he should "try 2nd shift." (Id. ¶ 5.) Reed alleges that, on that same date at 2:30 p.m., he contacted Defendant Madden "and was told he would file release order and get back to me he never responded back." (Id.)

On Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 10:00 a.m., Reed alleges that he contacted Defendant Corkle "and was told I would have to wait until someone came to work in Records to enter the information in computer for my release maybe 2/17/09." (Id. ¶ 6.)

As relief, Reed requests immediate release from the Dauphin County Prison. (Id. at 3 § V. ¶ 1.) He also requests the following monetary relief: reimbursement for his unlawful incarceration, loss of freedom, and loss of wages in the amount of $2,500 per day; relief for his loss of marital rights in the amount of $1,000 per day; relief for the pain and anguish his wife and family suffered waiting in the parking lot for eight (8) hours for his release at the rate of $40.00 per hour; the $350.00 filing fee for this action; and reimbursement for phone calls to friends and attorneys ...

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