Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dion A. Temple v. Vito Geroulo

April 25, 2011

DION A. TEMPLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VITO GEROULO,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

(MAGISTRATE JUDGE CARLSON)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Blewitt's Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of January 19, 2011 (Doc. 10) and Plaintiff's Objections (Doc. 11), as well as Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (Docs. 2). Magistrate Judge Carlson recommended that Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis be granted solely for the purpose of filing this action. The Magistrate Judge also recommended that Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed but that Plaintiff be granted leave to file a petition for habeas corpus. The Court will adopt Magistrate Judge Carlson's R & R for the reasons discussed more fully below.

BACKGROUND

As the Magistrate Judge stated in his R&R, the legal and factual bases of Plaintiff's Complaint and the relief sought are somewhat difficult to decipher. The Complaint, brought against the judge at Plaintiff's criminal trial, arises out of Plaintiff's 2007 conviction in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County. Plaintiff appears to be alleging that there were procedural errors made with respect to his trial that entitle him to relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 under a number of constitutional provisions, specifically, the "4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 13th, [and] 14th Amendments." Simultaneous with filing his pro se Compliant, Plaintiff applied to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2 .) As a result, the Magistrate Judge screened Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which includes the requirement that a complaint filed in forma pauperis be dismissed if it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

Applying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard to Plaintiff's Complaint, the Magistrate Judge in his R&R first recommended the dismissal of the Complaint on three grounds: (1) private individuals cannot bring criminal complaints; (2) defendant was entitled to judicial immunity; and (3) the complaint was time-barred. The Magistrate Judge further recommended that the Complaint be dismissed without prejudice so that Plaintiff be able to file a proper habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 if that was Plaintiff's actual intent.

Plaintiff then filed his Objections to the R&R on January 26, 2011. (Doc. 11.) In his Objections, Plaintiff attempts to add Kurt Lynott, the Assistant District Attorney in Plaintiff's criminal trial, to his Complaint. Plaintiff also argues that his Complaint is not time-barred because he only learned of the harm in August 2009. Finally, Plaintiff brings new allegations in his Objections, including claims that his sentencing was unlawful. For purposes of this Opinion, the Court will allow the addition of Mr. Lynott to Plaintiff's Complaint.

STANDARDS OF REVIEW

I. Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report

Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed, the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c), provided the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the district court. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7. At the very least, the Court should review uncontested portions for clear error or manifest injustice. See, e.g., Cruz v. Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375, 376-77 (M.D. Pa. 1998).

II. Motion to Dismiss

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, a plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), meaning enough factual allegations "'to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of'" each necessary element, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring a complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "'give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant [with] the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents when the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached copies of the documents to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. W. Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 & n.13 (3d Cir. 1998), or credit a complaint's "'bald assertions'" or "'legal conclusions,'" Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (quoting In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1429-30 (3d Cir. 1997)). "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining if a plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of her claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. A defendant bears the burden of establishing that a plaintiff's complaint ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.