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Corey Angelo Brown v. Gail Lewis

April 27, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'neill, J.


On the afternoon of March 8, 2010, plaintiff Corey Angelo Brown, appearing pro se, was a front seat passenger in a vehicle operated by defendant parole agent Gail Lewis.*fn1 Lewis was transporting Brown to Community Education Center's Coleman Hall*fn2 , where Brown was then subject to confinement. En route, Brown and Lewis were involved in a vehicle accident with a water department truck. Brown alleges he was injured during the accident and was thereafter provided with inadequate medical treatment in violation of his rights under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He contends that he was transferred to Graterford Prison in retaliation for his refusal to remain silent about the accident. He also claims that he was subjected to false imprisonment and that he suffered "emotion[al] damages."

Following the accident, Lewis exchanged information with the other driver. When Brown attempted to speak with the other driver, Lewis directed Brown to stay in the car. Brown reported to Lewis that his knees and lower back had been injured in the accident. He asked if he could be taken to a hospital. He alleges that Lewis told him "I won't take you to the hospital," and instead threatened to take him to Graterford Prison. Brown told her he did not want to go back to prison and that he would go to Coleman Hall.

Brown was then taken to Coleman Hall where he asked for a doctor. He asserts that the Coleman Hall staff and assistant director informed him that they had no medical doctor available and could not help him. Brown alleges that he then showed the staff information Lewis had given him about the driver of the other vehicle.

Lewis and her partner returned to Coleman Hall after the Coleman Hall staff called Lewis to tell her that Brown was "giving them trouble." While Brown was eating, Lewis and her partner handcuffed and shackled him. Brown asked why he was being arrested and asserts that Lewis responded by telling him to "shut up" and then calling "for a temporary warrant for 48 hours."*fn3 He was then transported to Graterford. Brown alleges that while in transit Lewis told him he "should have been quiet about the accident; now it[']s too late, [you are] going to prison." He claims that Lewis called a friend on her cell phone and told the friend about Brown's situation "as if [he] had done something wrong."

Brown contends that upon his arrival at Graterford, he was given Naproxen for his pain and that the information he had about the other driver was removed from his personal property.

In his opposition to Lewis' motion to dismiss, Brown asserts that his "condition has worsen [sic] and now requires serious surgery." Pl.'s Opp. Br. at 3.

In his complaint, Brown alleges that he complained about the events of March 8, 2010 to the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole through Garth Walls. Compl. at 4-5. He asserts that Mr. Walls forwarded an affidavit pertaining to the events to a higher office. Id. In his opposition to Lewis' Motion, Brown asserts that while in prison he filed proper grievance forms with respect to his complaints and that he sent complaints to Superintendent David DiGuglielmo on March 18, 2010 and again on March 22, 2010. Id. at 6.

Presently before me is a motion to dismiss filed by Lewis and Brown's response thereto. For the following reasons, I will deny Lewis' motion.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a Court to dismiss all or part of an action for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Typically, "a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations," though plaintiff's obligation to state the grounds of entitlement to relief "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all of the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. (citations omitted). The complaint must state "'enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary element." Wilkerson v. New Media Tech. Charter Sch.Inc., 522 F.3d 315, 321 (3d Cir. 2008), quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

The Court of Appeals has recently made clear that after Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ---, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1955, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009), "conclusory or 'bare-bones' allegations will no longer survive a motion to dismiss: 'threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.' To prevent dismissal, all civil complaints must now set out 'sufficient factual matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009), quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. The Court also set forth a two part-analysis for reviewing motions to dismiss in light of Twombly and Iqbal: "First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated. The District Court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Second, a District Court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for relief.'" Id. at 210-11, quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 . The Court explained, "a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to 'show' such an entitlement with its facts." Id., citing Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234-35 (3d Cir. 2008) . "Where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged--but it has not 'show[n]'--'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Additionally, pleadings that are pro se must be held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Dickerson v. Brooks, No, 06-289, 2007 WL 4689001, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 31, 2007), citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-521 (1972). See also United States ex rel. Montgomery v. Bierley, 141 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969) (noting that a petition prepared by a prisoner may be inartfully drawn and should be read "with a measure of tolerance"). Pro se complaints, especially from civil rights plaintiffs, should be read liberally, as prisoners in particular are often at an informational disadvantage that may prevent them from pleading the full factual predicate for their claims. Alston v. ...

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