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Stroud v. Brocklehurst

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 30, 2014

JESSE ANDERSON STROUD, JR., Plaintiff
v.
MR. BROCKLEHURST, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Jesse Anderson Stroud, Jr., a state inmate presently housed at the Benner State Correctional Institution (SCI-Benner), in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania filed this pro se civil rights action challenging the following Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (the Board) employee's refusal to release him on parole following the Board's May 9, 2009 grant of parole: Mr. Brocklehurst; Mr. Wint; Ms. Asbury; Mr. Applegarth; Dr. Woods; CO Snyder; CO Gerber; Lt. Matthews; Counselor Foust; Warden Harlow and Mr. Tompson. (Doc. 5, Compl.) As relief, Mr. Stroud seeks his immediate release to a CCC and monetary damages.

The Complaint is before the court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Upon screening the Complaint, the court will dismiss the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) due to Mr. Stroud's failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.

II. Background

On May 9, 2009, the Board granted Mr. Stroud parole. Since then he has repeatedly requested defendants to place him in a specialized CCC[1] in Region I (Philadelphia). (Doc. 5, ECF p. 26.) On August 16, 2011, an application for Mr. Stroud's CCC placement was submitted. Unfortunately, it was rejected on October 24, 2011. Defendants have told Mr. Stroud that because he is a convicted sex offender he "is required to have an approved home plan[2] prior to being submitted for release to a Center." ( Id., ECF p. 20.) Mr. Stroud contends this is "contrary to [his] Parole Sheet Decision." ( Id. ) Mr. Stroud remains incarcerated today.

As relief, noting that his "max out" date is September 30, 2023, Mr. Stroud seeks the court to "vacate... the ten years left on [his] thirty year sentence" and his immediate placement in a CCC. ( Id., ECF p. 26.) He also seeks compensatory damages for pain and suffering.

III. Standard of Review

When a litigant seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, without the prepayment of fees, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, requires the court to screen a complaint. Likewise, when a prisoner seeks redress from a government defendant in a civil action, whether proceeding in forma pauperis or not, the court is mandated to screen the complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Both 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915(A) give the court the authority to dismiss a complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).

A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact. See Mitchell v. Horn, 318 F.3d 523, 530 (3d Cir. 2003)(citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 1832-33, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989)). 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). See Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000). Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008))

Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), a complaint need only "include a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." "[T]he factual allegations of a complaint must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level' and the complaining party must offer more than labels and conclusions' or formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.'" W. Run Student Hous. Assocs., LLC. v. Huntington Nat'l Bank, 712 F.3d 165, 169 (3d Cir. 2013)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Legal conclusions are "not entitled to the assumption of truth." Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d 352, 365 (3d Cir. 2012)(citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

Finally, we note that pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys and are to be liberally construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007); Giles v. Kearney, 571 F.3d 318, 322 (3d Cir. 2009). 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. See Philips, 515 F.3d at 245-46 (citing 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).

IV. Discussion

1. Alleged Civil Rights ...


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