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Basham v. Fine

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

June 5, 2014

DOUGLAS BASHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
PAROLE AGENT RONALD FINE, PAROLE AGENT JOHN DOE, BOARD SECRETARY KFMBERLY BARKLEY Defendants.

David S. Cercone Chief Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON MOTION TO DISMISS

Lisa Pupo Lenihan United States Chief Magistrate Judge

I. RECOMMENDATION

Before the Court is Defendants' April 17, 2014 Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint for Failure to State a Claim (ECF No. 18). For reasons set forth below, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion be granted as to dismissal of the claims against Defendant Barkley. A finding in Plaintiffs favor as to any such claims made (or potentially made under the facts set forth in the Complaint) would necessarily call Plaintiffs parole revocation into question and such claims are therefore barred under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). For reasons also set forth below, it is respectfully recommended that the remainder of the Motion be denied and that the case proceed to the summary judgment stage .

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff initiated this civil rights lawsuit pro se in March, 2013 and amended it in October, 2013. He asserts that the Parole Officer Defendants “forcibly” entered his shared rental home without a warrant and with firearms drawn at 4:30 a.m. on June 3, 2011, at which time Plaintiff thought his home was being robbed. See October, 2013 Complaint (ECF No. 13). He further asserts that he was subjected to a warrantless search and arrest as a parole violator, “was given a revocation hearing and was recommitted as a convicted parole violator.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that he was “unable to get affective [sic] counsel to appeal these unconstitutional violation[s]” and wrote to Defendant Barkley requesting release from “illegal incarceration” which was refused. He remained in custody until January 23, 2013 (i.e., an additional six months). Id. The Complaint seeks monetary damages against the Defendants.

Defendants filed the pending Motion to Dismiss asserting, without explication of either the standard applicable to Defendant Parole Officers’ June 3, 2013 entry and arrest or the relationship between a potential Federal Court determination in Plaintiff’s favor and the validity of his parole revocation, that (a) the Complaint should be dismissed as barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); (b) the Complaint should be dismissed as to Defendant Barkley for lack of personal involvement in a constitutional deprivation; and (c) claims predating October 24, 2011 (two years prior to the date of the Amended Complaint) should be dismissed as time barred. Despite this Court’s April 18, 2014 Text Order, Plaintiff has failed to file a response to the Motion to Dismiss.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A Motion to Dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) is an appropriate means of challenging the legal sufficiency of the Complaint. See, e.g., Sturm v. Clark, 835 F.2d 1009, 111 (3d Cir. 1987). Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit aptly summarized the standard to be applied in deciding motions to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6):

Under the “notice pleading” standard embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must come forward with “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” As explicated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), a claimant must state a “plausible” claim for relief, and “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Although “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a plaintiff “need only put forth allegations that raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element.” Fowler, 578 F.3d at 213 (quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 117–18 (3d Cir.2013).

Thompson v. Real Estate Mortg. Network, __F.3d__, 2014 WL 1317137, *2 (3d Cir. Apr. 3, 2014).

Pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally. See Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). The Court is particularly mindful of the leniency to be extended pro se civil rights plaintiffs, and the emphasis which this Circuit continues to place on this consideration in the context of Motions to Dismiss.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Heck Analysis


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