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James Rankin v. Warden B. A. Bledsoe

May 31, 2012

JAMES RANKIN, PLAINTIFF
v.
WARDEN B. A. BLEDSOE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Caputo)

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

On December 20, 2011, the pro se Plaintiff, Mr. James Rankin, filed this Bivens*fn1 action, pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq. The events set forth in the Complaint took place on May 17, 2010, while Mr. Rankin was housed at USP-Lewisburg, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Rankin is currently housed at USP-Victorville, in Adelanto, California.

Mr. Rankin has filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion for appointment of counsel. Docs. 3 and 8. The Complaint is presently before the Court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Mr. Rankin's request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted, his motion for counsel denied without prejudice, and his present Complaint dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Mr. Rankin will be afforded an opportunity to file an amended complaint to correct the identified deficiencies if he wishes to do so.

II. Standard of Review

A complaint filed in forma pauperis may be dismissed if it is determined that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In deciding whether the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, the court employs the standard used to analyze motions to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The court must accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and construe any inferences to be drawn from the allegations in the plaintiff's favor. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008). Detailed factual allegations are not required, id. at 231 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d. 929 (2007)), but the complaint has to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974, and factual allegations "that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" are not enough. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). "[M]ore than labels and conclusions" are required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65. When appropriate, the court may also consider public records, such as court filings. See Churchill v. Star Enterprises, 183 F.3d 184, 190 n.5 (3d Cir. 1999)

Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). Pro se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative amended complaint "even when a plaintiff does not seek leave to amend," unless such an amendment would be inequitable or futile. Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 235 (3d Cir. 2004). However, a complaint that sets forth facts which affirmatively demonstrate that the plaintiff has no right to recover is properly dismissed without leave to amend. Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 2002).

III. Background

The allegations of the Complaint, in their entirety, are as follows: was stabbed by 2 inmates (armed) Jason Glass 13007-081 Reid 41447-048 45 times, right lung collapsed hospitalized for four days mental and emotional injury anxiety bipolar diagnosed and post tra[umatic] stress

Doc. 1, Complaint at ECF p. 2.*fn2 From documents attached to the Complaint, Mr. Rankin alleges that his administrative tort claim regarding the assault was denied. Id. at p. 5. Named as defendants are B.A. Bledsoe, Warden of USP-Lewisburg, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, were the May 17, 2010, event took place; David Young, Associate Warden; and JL Norwood, Northeast Regional Director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Id. at p. 2.

IV. Discussion

A. Lack of Personal Involvement of defendants Bledsoe, Norwood and Young.

To state a viable § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must plead two essential elements:

(1) the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Nasale v. Camden County Corr. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 580-81 (3d Cir. 2003). Personal involvement in the alleged wrongdoing is necessary for the imposition of liability in a civil rights action. Evince v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 353 (3d Cir. 2005); Sutton v. Raced, 323 F.3d 236, 249-50 (3d Cir. 2003). A supervisory defendant may be liable if he directed, or knew of and acquiesced in, the deprivation of a plaintiff's constitutional rights. Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207-08 (3d Cir. 1988). A civil rights complaint is adequate if it states the conduct, time, place, and ...


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