United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MAUREEN P. KELLY, Magistrate Judge.
It is respectfully recommended that, pursuant to the screening provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), the instant Complaint be dismissed before being served upon the Defendants because the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Detrius Wade ("Plaintiff") is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution in Fayette ("SCI-Fayette"), serving a sentence of 8 to 25 years. Plaintiff apparently does not feel safe climbing into and out of the top bunk in his cell. He alleges that the three defendants named in his Complaint, all of whom work at SCI-Fayette, violated Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment clause. Plaintiff asserts that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety by requiring him to climb up to, and down from the top bunk without providing him a ladder to do so, and thereby violated his Eighth Amendment rights. Because we find that Plaintiff's Complaint alleges no more than mere negligence and negligence is below the Constitutional threshold for stating a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Complaint should be dismissed prior to being served pursuant to the screening provisions of the PLRA.
A. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY
Proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis ("IFP"), Plaintiff, seeks to file a civil rights Complaint, naming three Defendants, all of whom work at SCI-Fayette. The full extent of Plaintiff's allegations in the Complaint is as follows:
Superintendent Brian V. Coleman failed to provide adequate furniture for me to climb up and down from my bunkbed safely. Which breaches his duty of due care[.]
Deputy Superintendent for Facility Management Steven Gate also Failed [sic] to provide adequate Furniture [sic] for me to climb up and down from my bunkbed safely. Which breaches his duty of due care.
John Doe failed to provide adequate furniture for me to climb up and down from my bunkbed safely. Which breaches his/her duty of due care[.]
ECF No. 3, ¶ IV. C. Plaintiff alleges that the date of the event was on March 13, 2014. He further alleges that this violated the Eighth Amendment Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause. Id., ¶ III.
B. APPLICABLE LEGAL PRINCIPLES
In the PLRA, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), Congress adopted major changes affecting civil rights actions brought by prisoners, in an effort to curb the increasing number of frivolous and harassing law suits brought by persons in custody. The PLRA permits courts to screen complaints filed by prisoners and dismiss them before they are served if the complaints fail to state a claim or are frivolous or malicious. See Santana v. United States , 98 F.3d 752, 755 (3d Cir. 1996). Because Plaintiff is a prisoner who has been granted IFP status and/or because Plaintiff sues government employees, and/or because Plaintiff is a prisoner suing about prison conditions, the screening provisions of the PLRA apply. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, ("[t]he court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity."). See also 28 U.S.C. §1915(e) ("[n]otwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid [by a prisoner granted IFP status], the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that - (A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal - (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief."); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (permitting courts to screen complaints concerning "prison conditions").
In performing the Court's mandated function of sua sponte review of complaints under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e) and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, to determine if they fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a federal district court applies the same standard applied to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See, e.g., Brodzki v. Tribune Co., 481 F.Appx. 795 (3d Cir. 2012) (applying Rule 12(b)(6) standard to claim dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Courteau v. United States , 287 F.Appx. 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008) ("the legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to § 1915A is identical to the legal standard employed in ruling on 12(b)(6) ...