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Kristen Sarnoski v. Lackawanna Probation Department

June 14, 2012

KRISTEN SARNOSKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LACKAWANNA PROBATION DEPARTMENT, JOSEPH MECCA, AND VALERIE BLACK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

(MAGISTRATE JUDGE SMYSER)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are Magistrate Judge Smyser's Report and Recommendation and Plaintiff Kristen Sarnoski's objections. Magistrate Judge Smyser recommends that Ms. Sarnoski's complaint be dismissed without leave to amend. Because Ms. Sarnoski's complaint is barred under the favorable termination rule, the Report and Recommendation will be adopted. Ms. Sarnoski's complaint will be dismissed without leave to amend.

I. Background

Plaintiff Kristen Sarnoski filed this action in the Middle District of Pennsylvania on March 20, 2012 against Defendants Lackawanna County Probation Department, Joseph Mecca, and Valerie Black. Both Mr. Mecca and Ms. Black are employees of the Lackawanna County Probation Department.

Ms. Sarnoski drafted her complaint using the Form to Be Used by a Prisoner in Filing a Civil Rights Complaint. She alleges that the Defendants falsified her presentence investigative report in three ways: (1) adding a fictitious possession charge; (2) incorrectly listing the number of times she was arrested for violating a Protection from Abuse Order; and (3) falsifying parts of a victim's statement.

Magistrate Judge Smyser reviewed Ms. Sarnoski's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) which provides that for proceedings in forma pauperis:

[T]he court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-- (A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal-- (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

On April 11, 2012, Magistrate Judge Smyser filed the instant Report and Recommendation to dismiss Ms. Sarnoski's complaint with prejudice. Ms. Sarnoski filed objections on April 25, 2012. Thus, the Report and Recommendation is ripe for disposition.

II. Legal Standard

A. Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report

Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed, the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c)), provided the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the district court. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7. At the very least, the Court should review uncontested portions for clear error or manifest injustice. See, e.g., Cruz v. Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375, 376-77 (M.D. Pa. 1998).

B. Motion to Dismiss

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, a plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), meaning enough factual allegations "'to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of'" each necessary element, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 does not require "detailed factual allegations," but "[a] pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or a 'formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. ...


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