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Andrew Outen v. Prialeau

December 10, 2012

ANDREW OUTEN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
PRIALEAU, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert F. Kelly, Sr. J.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before this Court are Defendants, Mark Thompson and Carlos Riera's ("Defendants"), Motion to Dismiss and Plaintiff, Andrew Outen's ("Plaintiff") Response in Opposition. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, is, and was at all times, a prisoner in the custody of the Department of Corrections of the State of Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 3.) In November of 2011, Plaintiff was paroled from prison to Gaudenzia D.R.C. ("Guadenzia"), a treatment center located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 11.) As a condition of his parole, Plaintiff was ordered to participate in a violence prevention program and to receive outpatient drug and mental health treatment. (Id.) On March 13, 2012, Plaintiff's parole was revoked and he was returned to prison for using drugs and refusing to participate in drug and alcohol treatment, behavior which violated conditions of his parole. (Id. ¶ 38; see also Doc. 22.) Plaintiff admits to smoking marijuana. (Compl. ¶'s 17, 40.)

On September 10, 2012, Plaintiff filed a pro se Complaint against Defendants, Parole Agent Mark Thompson, Parole Supervisor Carlos Riera*fn1 (both employees of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole), and Gaudenzia employees Darien Prialeau, Larry Barksdale, Annie McCray and Brenda Kennerly, alleging deprivation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983").*fn2 (Id. ¶'s 4-9.) Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his First, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA") 42 U.S.C. § 12101. (Id. ¶'s 15, 46, 47, 52, 53, 65.) Additionally, Plaintiff sets forth tort claims under Pennsylvania state law. (Compl. ¶'s 59-60.)

On November 9, 2012, Defendants, Thompson and Riera, filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 12.) Plaintiff subsequently submitted a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion. (Doc. 19.) For the following reasons, the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6) is granted.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has failed to set forth a claim from which relief may be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); see also Lucas v. City of Philadelphia, No. 11-4376, 2012 WL 1555430, at *2 (E.D. Pa. May 2, 2012) (citing Hedges v. U.S., 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005)). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the court must view any reasonable inferences from the factual allegations in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Buck v. Hamilton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2002).

The Supreme Court set forth in Twombly, and further defined in Iqbal, a two-part test to determine whether to grant or deny a motion to dismiss. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has noted that these cases signify the progression from liberal pleading requirements to more "exacting scrutiny" of the complaint. Wilson v. City of Philadelphia, 415 Fed. Appx. 434, 436 (3d Cir. 2011).

Initially, the court must ascertain whether the complaint is supported by well-pleaded factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Conclusions of law can serve as the foundation of a complaint, but to survive dismissal they must be supported by factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. These factual allegations must be explicated sufficiently to provide a defendant the type of notice that is contemplated by Rule 8. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) (requiring a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief); see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008). Where there are well-pleaded facts, courts must assume their truthfulness. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

Upon a finding of a well-pleaded complaint, the court must then determine whether these allegations "plausibly" give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. at 679. This is a "context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. Plausibility compels the pleadings to contain enough factual content to allow a court to make "a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 at 570). This is not a probability requirement; rather plausibility necessitates "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). In other words, a complaint must not only allege entitlement to relief, but must demonstrate such entitlement with sufficient facts to nudge the claim "across the line from conceivable to plausible." Id. at 683; see also Holmes v. Gates, 403 Fed. App'x 670, 673 (3d Cir. 2010).

III. DISCUSSION

A. The Eleventh Amendment and Actions Under § 1983 Against Defendants' Acting in Their Official Capacities In the Complaint, Plaintiff asserts "each defendant is sued individually and in his or her official capacity." (Compl. ¶ 10.) However, the Eleventh Amendment bars actions brought under § 1983 against state officials acting in their official capacity. Will v. Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). This prohibition derives from the fact that a suit against an official acting within their official capacity is essentially a legal action against the state, and the state is not a "person" falling within the purview of § 1983. Id. (citing Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 471 (1985)); see also Melo v. Hafer, 912 F.2d 628, 635 (3d Cir. 1990). For this reason, Plaintiff's suit regarding Defendants' actions taken in their official capacity is dismissed.

Plaintiff's claims against Defendants in their "individual" or "personal" capacities are permitted by ยง 1983 and remain. ...


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