United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MAUREEN P. KELLY, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff William Redshaw ("Plaintiff"), is an inmate in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC"), and is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution ("SCI") at Fayette. Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against Defendant Jeffrey Ayers ("Ayers"), an agent of the Pennsylvania Department of Probation and Parole, alleging that Ayers violated his rights provided by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution relative to Plaintiff's arrest for violating his parole.
Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss ("the Motion") submitted on behalf of Defendant Ayers. ECF No. 15. For the reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion be granted.
A. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On May 18, 2004, Plaintiff pled guilty to a number of sex offenses before Judge Lawrence J. O'Toole of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and was sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of 2½ to 5 years followed by three years of probation. ECF No. 16-2, p. 3-4. Plaintiff alleges that on July 15, 2011, a little over six weeks before his probation was due to expire, Defendant Ayres saw Plaintiff at the Mon-Valley Sub-Office and searched a bag that Plaintiff had brought with him. ECF No. 4, p. 4, ¶¶ 1, 4. Ayers found a sealed letter addressed to an "Eric Mackey" in the bag and ordered Plaintiff to open the letter and allow Ayers to read it. Id. at ¶¶ 1, 2. According to the Complaint, the letter contained a graphic discussion of Plaintiff's "then of-age fiance." Id. at ¶ 3. Plaintiff alleges that Ayres told him that no violation would be entered but that he would be given house arrest until his probation expired on August 26, 2011. Id. at ¶4.
Plaintiff contends that Ayers subsequently faxed a copy of the letter to Jim Johns, the facilitator at the sex-offender program that Plaintiff was attending at Mercy Behavior Health. Id. at ¶ 6. After consulting with a superior, Mr. Johns told Plaintiff that he was being removed from the program due to "an inability to show that [Plaintiff] had learned from his time in the program;" the letter was cited as proof of Plaintiff's failing. Id. at pp. 4-5, ¶ 6. It also appears that Plaintiff had previously missed "several sessions" of his sex-offender program due to a respiratory infection. Id. at p. 4, ¶ 5.
Plaintiff claims that upon being removed from the sex-offender program he called Ayres' supervisor, Ed Lauth, who allegedly told Plaintiff to remain at home while Lauth consulted with Ayres. Id. at p. 5, ¶ 7. Plaintiff contends that as a result of being told to stay at home, he missed his regularly scheduled appointment with Ayres. Id . Lauth was apparently unable to reach Ayers and, three days later, Ayres came to Plaintiff's home and arrested him for failing to complete the court-ordered sex-offender program and for not reporting. Id. at ¶ 8. Plaintiff claims that he subsequently spent seven months in the Allegheny County Jail, at which point Judge O'Toole revoked Plaintiff's probation and issued a sentence of 1½ to 3 years to be served in a State prison. Id. at ¶ 9. See ECF No. 16-1, pp. 2-3.
Plaintiff initiated the instant action on March 4, 2013, and the Complaint was filed on May 9, 2013. ECF Nos. 1, 4. Plaintiff complains that by sending the illegally confiscated letter to the sex-offender program, Ayers violated Plaintiff's rights provided by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution by "breaking Postal Law and infringing upon [his] Privacy Rights." ECF No. 4, p. 5, ¶ 10. Plaintiff seeks prosecution of Ayres for mail tampering and cash damages for his subsequent illegal confinement. Id. at pp. 3, 6.
Defendant Ayers filed the pending Motion to Dismiss on September 4, 2013, to which Plaintiff responded on September 18, 2013. ECF Nos. 15, 18. As such, the Motion is ripe for review.
B. STANDARD OF REVIEW
In assessing the sufficiency of the complaint pursuant to a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint and all reasonable factual inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Odd v. Malone , 538 F.3d 202, 205 (3d Cir. 2008). The Court, however, need not accept bald assertions or inferences drawn by the plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employees' Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp. , 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004), citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist. , 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Nor must the Court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Rather, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id., citing Papasan v. Allain , 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has held that a complaint is properly dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) where it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " id. at 570, or where the factual content does not allow the court "to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). See Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d ...