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Heath v. Whipple

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 28, 2014

JORDAN HEATH, Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE E. WHIPPLE, Defendant.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JOY FLOWERS CONTI, Chief District Judge.

I. RECOMMENDATION

It is respectfully recommended that Defendant's motion to dismiss [ECF No. 30] be granted and that this case be dismissed.

II. REPORT

A. Relevant Procedural History

On September 9, 2013, Plaintiff Jordan Heath, an inmate formerly incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Forest in Marienville, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Forest")[1], filed the instant pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against Defendant George E. Whipple, a corrections officer at SCI-Forest. [ECF No. 3].

In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on June 1, 2010, Defendant issued a misconduct against him for assaulting a corrections employee, without providing him notice or giving him Miranda warnings. Plaintiff alleges further that he was not given a hearing on the misconduct, nor was he provided a chance to appeal. (See ECF No. 3, Complaint, at Section IV. C). As relief, Plaintiff seeks to recover monetary damages, or a "commendation of choice" (Id. at Section VI).

On December 19, 2013, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss [ECF No. 30], arguing, inter alia, that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Plaintiff has since filed a declaration and a brief in opposition to Plaintiff's motion (ECF Nos. 34 and 35, respectively). This matter is now ripe for consideration.

B. Standards of Review

1. Motion to Dismiss

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 "enough 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). "Factual 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 "not 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 "required 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). "This 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.

The Third Circuit Court has prescribed the following three-step approach to determine the sufficiency of a ...


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