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Robbie Thomas v. Mr. Lt. Mccoy

September 22, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner


Robbie Thomas ("plaintiff"), a Pennsylvania State inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy (SCI-Mahanoy), Frackville, Pennsylvania, originally commenced this civil rights action on August 6, 2010. (Doc. 1.) On June 27, 2011, a Memorandum and Order were issued granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 40.) Specifically, the motion was granted as to the due process claim, but was conditionally denied with respect to the retaliation claim and plaintiff was afforded the opportunity to file an amended complaint. (Id. at 8.)

Thereafter, plaintiff filed an amended complaint (Doc. 42), naming the following individuals employed at SCI-Mahanoy and the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon ("SCI-Huntingdon") as defendants: Mr. Lt. McCoy of R.H.U. ; Ms. Connie Green; Mr. Lawler; Ms. Jackson of Medical Records; Deputy Corbin; Major Wakefield; Mr. Mitchell; Supt. John Kerestes; Mr. Nevis, Inmates Account; Cpt. Gavin; Officer Smith; Mr. Murick; and Psychologist Varner.

Presently ripe for disposition is defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint. (Doc. 46.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

I. Allegations of the Amended Complaint

Plaintiff alleges that, in 2003, while incarcerated at a different state correctional facility, he settled state civil case "#2001-863 filed on SCI-Huntingdon for personal injury's [sic]." (Doc. 42, at 2.) When he was transferred back to SCIHuntingdon in 2008, however, " '[r]etaliations' [sic] took over by SCI-Huntingdon for once having 'filed' the 'civil action' on them." (Id. at 4.) He states that he was placed "in their 'R[estricted] H[ousing] U[nit]' on '7-16-08' with 'no' write-up' ; then all others came as 'retaliations' by a usage of Ms. Jackson medical records." (Id.) He alleges that "all actions was 'retaliations' and 'instructed' by the superintendents that are personally involved by 'sancting' [sic] the "retaliations" of "RHU time" without "no" write up. . . . " and that all other named defendants were personally involved in retaliations. (Id. at 4-5.)

II. Standard of Review

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "accept as true all [factual] allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it "may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).

Federal notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide "the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. 544). The plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a) (stating that the complaint should include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief"); Iqbal, ---U.S. ---, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (explaining that Rule 8 requires more than "an unadorned, the-defendant unlawfully-harmed-me accusation"); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level"). Thus, to prevent a summary dismissal, civil complaints must now allege "sufficient factual matter" to show that a claim is facially plausible. See Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949--50; see also Twombly, 505 U.S. at 555, & n. 3; Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). This then "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1948.

The Third Circuit now requires that a district court must conduct the two-part analysis set forth in Iqbal when presented with a motion to dismiss:

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. [Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949--50]. 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.] In other words, a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to "show" such an entitlement with its facts. See Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234--35. As the Supreme Court instructed in Iqbal, "[w]here 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--50]. This "plausibility" determination will be "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210--211.

This Court is mindful, however, that the sufficiency of a pro se pleading must be construed liberally in favor of plaintiff, even after Iqbal. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007). Moreover, a complaint should not be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim without granting leave to amend, unless it finds bad faith, undue delay, prejudice or futility. See Grayson v. Mayview ...

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