United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
Honorable Cathy Bissoon, United States District Judge.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, United States Magistrate Judge.
It is respectfully recommended that Defendants’ motion to dismiss [ECF No. 22] be granted, that Plaintiff’s motion for change of venue [ECF No. 25] be denied, and that Plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment due process claim be dismissed. It is further recommended that, under the authority granted by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Plaintiff’s claims under the First, Fourth, and Eighth Amendments be dismissed, and that this case be closed.
A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History
On July 1, 2013, Plaintiff Bryan Angle, II, an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Forest in Marienville, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Forest”), filed the pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended complaint [ECF No. 21] on January 10, 2014, which is the operative pleading in this case. Named as Defendants in the amended complaint are: Shirley Moore Smeal (“Smeal”), Eastern Regional Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”); Dorina Varner (“Varner”), Chief Grievance Officer for the DOC; Deputy Overmyer (“Overmyer”), Deputy Superintendent at SCI-Forest; Deputy Tice (“Tice”), Deputy Superintendent at SCI-Forest; Unit Manager Chiles (“Chiles”), RHU Unit Manager at SCI-Forest; and SCI-Forest corrections officers Major Innis (“Innis”), Lt. Heffernan (“Heffernan”), Lt. Hagerty (“Hagerty”), CO1 Wise (“Wise”), and CO1 Geible (“Geible”).
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the first, fourth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that his property was taken during a cell extraction on July 6, 2011, and was never returned to him. As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he “lost his criminal case.” (ECF No. 21, Amended Complaint, at ¶ 25). Plaintiff alleges further that Defendants Wise and Geible taunted him about how they destroyed his property, calling him a “baby raper” and a “rat.” (Id. at ¶¶ 20-22).
Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss [ECF No. 22] arguing, inter alia, that Plaintiff has failed to state a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim upon which relief may be granted.Plaintiff has since filed a response in opposition to Defendants’ motion, which includes a motion for change of venue to state court [ECF No. 25]. 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 ...