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Charlie Eakle v. Robert Johnson

January 10, 2012

CHARLIE EAKLE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT JOHNSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Carlson

Judge Jones

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

The plaintiff, a state prisoner who is proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a complaint on December 28, 2011. (Doc. 1) Eakle's complaint names seven defendants, and contained a 46-paragraph recital of various grievances lodged by Eakle with prison officials concerning his medical care, the loss of property from his cell, his treatment at the hands of fellow inmates, and the refusal of state officials to bring criminal charges on his behalf against those that Eakle believes have mistreated him.(Id.)

The factual narrative set forth in Eakle's complaint was notable in one respect: It dealt entirely with events which occurred in the remote past. Indeed, the factual narrative set forth in Eakle's December 28, 2011, complaint began in February of 2006 and concluded in September of 2009.(Id.) Thus, Eakle's complaint is based entirely upon events which are more than two years old, and which are in many instances nearly six years old. On the basis of these dated claims, Eakle's complaint sought wide-ranging injunctive relief and damages totaling $8.9 million.

Along with this complaint, Eakle has filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2) For the reasons set forth below, we will grant this motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) but recommend that the Court dismiss Eakle's complaint for failure to timely state a claim upon which relief can be granted, without prejudice to allowing Eakle to attempt to correct the deficiencies noted in this complaint by filing an amended complaint which sets forth claims within the period of the statute of limitations.

II. Discussion

A. Screening of Pro Se Prisoner Complaints--Standard of Review

This Court has a statutory obligation to conduct a preliminary review of pro se complaints which seek redress against government officials. Specifically, we are obliged to review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening. - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for dismissal. - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

Under Section 1915A, the Court must assess whether a pro se complaint "fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." This statutory text mirrors the language of Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that a complaint should be dismissed for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

With respect to this benchmark standard for legal sufficiency of a complaint, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has aptly noted the evolving standards governing ...


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