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Jay R. Schecter v. Bucks County

July 12, 2011

JAY R. SCHECTER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
BUCKS COUNTY, DEPUTY WARDEN
LILLIAN BUDD AND SGT. RONALD
LORENZ, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

In this case, pro se plaintiff Jay R. Schecter asserts that his civil rights were violated when he was denied kosher meals during a period of incarceration at the Bucks County Correctional Facility ("BCCF"). Presently before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, that motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was admitted to BCCF on or around October 27, 2008. (Compl. at 9.) Upon his arrival, he informed defendant Deputy Warden Lillian Budd that he kept a kosher diet. (Id.)

Budd told plaintiff that she was aware of the requirements of a kosher diet and would provide plaintiff kosher hot dogs for all of his meals. (Id.)

Shortly thereafter, however, plaintiff spoke with Sgt. Ronald Lorenz,*fn2 who informed plaintiff that he would not be given meals of kosher hot dogs. (Id. at 10.) Instead, plaintiff was told he would be given the same meals as other inmates, supplemented by a bowl of peanut butter. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he was forced to consume non-kosher food while at BCCF. (Id.) He also contends that he suffered "internal problems" as a result of the weight loss occasioned by his lack of access to kosher food. (Id. at 3.) His term of incarceration at BCCF ended on February 26, 2009. (Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, App. C.)

In this action, plaintiff seeks $25,000 in "actual and punitive damages" from Budd, Lorenz and Bucks County. (Compl. at 5.) Defendants have moved to dismiss, alleging, inter alia, that defendants' claims are all time barred. Defendants' motion is fully briefed and ripe for review.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that, in response to a pleading, a defense of "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted" may be raised by motion. In analyzing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court "accept[s] all factual allegations as true, [and] construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff . . . ." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that 'raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .'" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. __, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). To satisfy the plausibility standard, a plaintiff's allegations must show that defendant's liability is more than "a sheer possibility." Id. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

In Twombly, the Supreme Court utilized a "two-pronged approach," which it later formalized in Iqbal. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950; Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Under this approach, a district court first identifies those factual allegations that constitute nothing more than "legal conclusions" or "naked assertions." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557. Such allegations are "not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must be disregarded. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950. The court then assesses "the 'nub' of the plaintiff['s] complaint -- the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s] . . . to determine" whether it states a plausible claim for relief. Id.

Finally, a court may grant a motion to dismiss if an affirmative defense -- such as the expiration of a statute of limitations -- is evident from the face of the complaint. Victaulic Co., 499 F.3d at 234 (citing In ...


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