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Reynaldo Flores v. George A. Wagner

July 8, 2011

REYNALDO FLORES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE A. WAGNER , DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tucker, J.

MEMORANDUM

July ____,2011

Presently before the Court is Defendant George A Wagner's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b) (6) (Doc. 11) and Pro Se Plaintiff, Reynaldo Flores's Response in Opposition thereto (Doc. 12). Upon careful consideration of the parties' submissions and for the reasons set forth below the Court will grant the motion.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Pro Se Plaintiff Reynaldo Flores ("Plaintiff" and "Flores"), currently incarcerated, initiated the instant action by filing a motion to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") on March 15, 2011. (Doc.1) Having satisfied the requirements of 28 U.S. C. § 1915, the Court issued an Order granting Plaintiff's IFP motion on March 17, 2011. (Doc.2) On March 18, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Complaint naming Warden, George A. Wagner ("Defendant") as the sole Defendant. Plaintiff alleges Defendant unlawfully violated his constitutional rights with respect to the conditions of his confinement at the Berks County Jail System ("BCJS"), 1287 County Welfare Road, Leesport, PA 19533, during his incarceration. Although Plaintiff does not include a basis for his claim for relief the Court will liberally construe his Complaint as one setting forth a claim for relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights.*fn1

The sole averments included in Plaintiff's Complaint are as follows:

Plaintiff is incarcerated at the BCJS. Defendant is employed as the Warden of the BCJS.*fn2 Plaintiff is being made to eat all his meals, on a table in his cell, two (2) feet away from a toilet. (Compl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff contends that this is unhealthy and unsanitary, and thus a violation of State and Federal Law. (Compl. ¶ 4.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(6)

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), the court is required to accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and to view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994). A complaint should be dismissed only if the alleged facts, taken as true, fail to state a claim. See In re Warfarin Sodium Antitrust Litig., 214 F.3d 395, 397-98 (3d Cir. 2000). The question is whether the claimant can prove any set of facts consistent with his or her allegations that will entitle him or her to relief, not whether that person will ultimately prevail. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Semerenko v. Cendant Corp., 223 F.3d 165, 173 (3d Cir. 2000).

While a court will accept well-pled allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept bald assertions, unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The United States Supreme Court has recognized that "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] 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 et.al., 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Such allegations are "not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must be disregarded for purposes of resolving a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). In Twombly the Court made clear that it would not require a "heightened fact pleading of specifics," but only "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A "pleader is required to 'set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his claim or to permit inferences to be drawn that these elements exist.'" Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (citation omitted).

In 2009 the United States Supreme Court revisited the requirements for surviving a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). There the Court made clear that "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements [are] not suffice" to defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. at 1949. In evaluating whether a Plaintiff has has met the pleading requirements, a district court must identify "the 'nub' of the . . . complaint - the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s]." Id. "[O]nly a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief [will] survive[] a motion to dismiss." Id. at1950.

In light of the decision in Iqbal, the Third Circuit set forth a two-part analysis to be applied by district courts when presented with a 12(b)(6) motion. First, the court must separate the legal elements and factual allegations of the claim, with the well-pleaded facts accepted as true but the legal conclusions disregarded. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Second, the court must determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint demonstrate that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 211. If the court can only infer the mere ...


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