United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.
This civil action was filed in this Court on September 2, 2014. Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at the Erie County Prison and acting pro se , brought this action. As Defendants to this action, Plaintiff names "Eddie's Collectibles." In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges:
Eddie's Collectibles did willfully tow my 2004 Chevy pickup truck on February 9th from 17th and Myrtle Streets in Erie.
On March 12th I went to Eddie's Collectibles impound shop on West 18th Street to get my truck and was told by Mr. Huber and Mr. Imler that my truck was not there and they had no knowledge of it being towed. At which time I protested because I could see the truck with my own eyes. They called the police said I had a firearm which you can see from the police report I had no firearm.
The police came and arrested me, even though I didn't resist, the police slammed me face first into the parking lot, because they were told that I had a firearm.
I pray that the court can see just cause for my pursuit of relief!! At numerous times myself and David Chapman (my brother-in-law and power of attorney) called Eddie's Collectibles and McMillen's to try to find my truck, tools, and personal effects. Each time we were told that my truck wasn't there.
At the end of July David Chapman received a letter from Penndot that in 30 days my truck would be considered abandoned and ownership would be given to Eddie's Collectibles.
ECF No. 1. As relief, Plaintiff seeks the return of his truck and its contents, as well as monetary compensation due to his alleged pain and suffering.
Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. See ECF No. 3.
A. Standards of Review
1) The Prison Litigation Reform Act
The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996), requires a district court to review a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis (28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)) or seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity (28 U.S.C. § 1915A). The Court is required to identify cognizable claims and to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under both 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and seeking redress from governmental officers and employees.
Evaluating motions to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is a two-step process. See Roman v. Jeffes , 904 F.2d 192, 194 n.1 (3d Cir. 1990). "First, the district court evaluates a litigant's financial status and determines whether (s)he is eligible to proceed in forma pauperis under § 1915(a). Second the court assesses the complaint under [§ 1915(e)(2)] to determine whether it is frivolous." Id . citing Sinwell v. Shapp , 536 F.2d 15 (3d Cir. 1976); see also Schneller v. Able Home Care, Inc. , 389 Fed.Appx 90, 92 (3d Cir. 1990). Therefore, only after the district court grants the request to proceed in forma pauperis may it dismiss the complaint as legally frivolous. See Jackson v. Brown , 460 Fed.Appx 77, 79 n.2 (3d Cir. 2012) ("As a procedural matte, therefore, the District Court should have addressed Jackson's [ in forma pauperis ] motion before dismissing the complaint as frivolous, rather than deny the [ in forma pauperis ] motion as moot after dismissal."); Spuck v. Fredric , 414 Fed.Appx 358, 359 (3d Cir. 2011) ("When a complaint is submitted along with an [ in forma pauperis ] application, the complaint is not deemed filed ...