United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
CARLOS J. RIVERA MAYSONET, Plaintiff,
CORPORATION ENTITY OF CORRECTIONAL INSTUTION GREENE, MR. F. NUNEZ, MR. KORTE, MR. BENNETT, and MR. JIN, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
LISA PUPO LENIHAN, Chief Magistrate Judge.
For the following reasons, it is respectfully recommended that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed with prejudice as frivolous.
Carlos J. Rivera Maysonet ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Greene ("SCI-Greene"). He initiated this prisoner civil rights action on May 20, 2014, by submitting for filing a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, along with a Complaint titled "Tort Claims Action" and a Brief in Support of his Claims.
Plaintiff alleges several unrelated claims in his Complaint, but in general, he complains about the conditions of his confinement in the segregation and medical units at SCI-Greene, where he claims to have been housed since 2008. First, he alleges that Defendant Nunez has denied him due process in connection with his misconduct hearings, and, therefore, his confinement in segregation is "illegal". Second, he alleges that Defendants Korte and Bennett inventoried his personal property outside of his presence; as such, he was not given the opportunity to "object, appeal and contest the disposition of his property." Third, Plaintiff alleges that, during his confinement in the medical unit, Dr. Jin did not provide him with meals that conformed to his dietary restrictions and that he was also charged $5.00 for a diet that he was not given. Among other things, he claims to have suffered severe psychological harm from confined in segregation for so many years.
Importantly, prior to initiating this case, Plaintiff initiated a case in the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County, Pennsylvania on April 18, 2013, suing the above named Defendants and raising identical claims in a virtually identical complaint. Defendants filed preliminary objections for Plaintiff's failure to state a claim, and, on November 13, 2013, Judge Toothman issued an Order sustaining the preliminary objections and dismissing the complaint with prejudice as to Defendants SCI-Greene, Nunez, Korte and Bennett. Shortly thereafter, Judge Toothman amended the Order dated November 13, 2013, sustaining Dr. Jin's preliminary objections for Plaintiff's failure to state a claim and dismissing the complaint with prejudice as to him as well. Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration but was notified by letter dated March 14, 2014 that the motion was not expressly granted by Judge Toothman, and thus had expired.
This Court is required to review Plaintiff's Complaint in accordance with the amendments promulgated in the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996). Pertinent to the case at bar is the authority granted to federal courts for sua sponte screening and dismissal of prisoner claims. Specifically, Congress significantly amended Title 28 of the United States Code, section 1915, which establishes the criteria for allowing an action to proceed in forma pauperis, i.e., without the prepayment of costs. Section 1915(e) (as amended) requires the federal courts to review complaints filed by persons who are proceeding in forma pauperis and to dismiss, at any time, and notwithstanding any portion of the filing fee that may have been paid, any action that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
A court must employ less stringent standards when considering pro se pleadings than when judging the work product of an attorney. Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). When presented with a pro se complaint, the court should construe the complaint liberally and draw fair inferences from what is not alleged as well as from what is alleged. Dluhos v. Strasberg , 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003). In a section 1983 action, the court must "apply the applicable law, irrespective of whether the pro se litigant has mentioned it by name." Higgins v. Beyer , 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Holley v. Dep't of Veteran Affairs , 165 F.3d 244, 247-48 (3d Cir. 1999)). See also Nami v. Fauver , 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996) ("Since this is a § 1983 action, the [pro se] plaintiffs are entitled to relief if their complaint sufficiently alleges deprivation of any right secured by the Constitution.") (quoting Higgins , 293 F.3d at 688). Not with standing this liberality. pro se litigants are not relieved of their obligation to allege sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim. See, e.g. , Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc. , 296 F.3d 376, 378 (5th Cir. 2002); Riddle v. Mondragon , 83 F.3d 1197, 2102 (10th Cir. 1996).
Plaintiff is considered a "prisoner" as that term is defined under the PLRA and the Court has already granted him leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this action. Thus, the Court reviews his allegations in accordance with the directives provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), and finds that his Complaint must be dismissed as malicious.
The claims raised in this case have been or could have been fully litigated in the case Plaintiff filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County. Therefore, they ...