The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Baxter
United States Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.
A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History
On January 20, 2012, Plaintiff Johnny B. Showers, a prisoner incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Albion, Pennsylvania, filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. ' 1983 against Defendants Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (ADOC@) and Erie County Executive/Council.
In his pro se Complaint, Plaintiff vaguely alleges that he has been incarcerated pursuant to an illegal sentence in violation of his Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. As relief for his claims, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the form of his Adischarge from illegal detention,@ and compensatory damages.
On April 23, 2012, Defendant DOC filed a motion to dismiss [ECF No. 10], arguing, inter alia, that it is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Despite having been given ample time to file a response to Defendant DOC=s motion, Plaintiff has failed to do so. Both parties have consented to having a United States Magistrate Judge exercise jurisdiction over this matter. [ECF Nos. 4, 12].*fn1 This matter is now ripe for consideration.
A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). A complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(6) if it does not allege Aenough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.@ Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)(rejecting the traditional 12 (b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (specifically applying Twombly analysis beyond the context of the Sherman Act).
The Court need not accept inferences drawn by plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) citing Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Nor must the court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). AFactual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.@ Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Although the United States Supreme Court does Anot require heightened fact pleading of specifics, [the Court does require] enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.@ Id. at 570.
In other words, at the motion to dismiss stage, a plaintiff is Arequired to make a >showing= rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief.@ Smith v. Sullivan, 2008 WL 482469, at *1 (D.Del. February 19, 2008) quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008). AThis >does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage,= but instead >simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of= the necessary element.@ Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
Recently, the Third Circuit Court prescribed the following three-step approach to determine the sufficiency of a ...