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Beaver v. Union County

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

November 18, 2014

ANTHONY CURTIS BEAVER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNION COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, et al, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

SUSAN E. SCHWAB, Magistrate Judge.

The plaintiff, Anthony Curtis Beaver ("Beaver"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed an amended complaint in response to this Court's previous order dismissing his original complaint without prejudice. Beaver also filed a motion seeking the appointment of counsel. After screening the amended complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), we conclude that the amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted against one defendant and seeks monetary relief against the other defendant who is immune from such relief. Thus, we recommend that the amended complaint be dismissed with prejudice. In addition, because Beaver has failed to state a claim for which relief may be granted, we also recommend that his motion to appoint counsel be denied.

I. BACKGROUND.

On October 11, 2013, Beaver filed a civil-rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Docs. 1 & 2. We granted Beaver's application to proceed in forma pauperis, but after screening the original complaint, we dismissed the complaint without prejudice. Doc. 5. In dismissing the complaint, we granted Beaver leave to file an amended complaint to attempt to state a claim upon which relief can be granted against Union County and against the appropriate individuals based on his treatment in the Northumberland County Prison. Id. We did not, however, grant Beaver leave to file an amended complaint as to his claims against defendants Ulmer, Rymsza, Judge Knight, and the Northumberland County Prison. Id. On April 28, 2014, and again on May 13, 2014, Beaver filed two separate documents titled amended complaints, which we construe as one combined amended complaint. Docs. 6 & 7. On November 6, 2014, Beaver filed a motion for the appointment of counsel. Doc. 8. In the motion to appoint counsel, Beaver also attempts to bring a claim against Brian Ulmer, and we will analyze that purported claim along with the amended complaint ( Docs. 6 & 7).

In his amended complaint, Beaver brings claims under the Eighth Amendment by way of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and he names the Northumberland County Prison, the Honorable Louise O. Knight ("Judge Knight"), and Public Defender Brian Ulmer ("Ulmer") as defendants. Docs. 6-8. Beaver alleges that while he was held at the Northumberland County Prison in 2007 and 2008, he was not given treatment or proper medication for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Docs. 6 & 7. Beaver states that he has sustained irreversible damage and "[h]is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [has become] ten times worse and his Bipolar [Disorder] is hard to handle" as a result of his stay at the Northumberland County Prison. Doc. 6 at 2 & Doc. 7 at 2. He also asserts that he lost 55 pounds during his thirteen-month stay at the Northumberland County prison and, as a result, he was taken to see a Doctor upon being transferred to the Union County Prison. Doc. 6.

Beaver also alleges that Judge Knight caused him to be held for thirteen-months in prison without him giving a plea to the court regarding his guilt or innocence. Doc. 7. In doing so, Beaver claims that it was unlawful for Judge Knight, under Pennsylvania law, to hold him for so long before bringing him to trial. Id.

Finally, Beaver raises claims against defendant Ulmer, his former Public Defender, based on Ulmer's representation of him during his criminal proceedings. Doc. 8. Beaver asserts that Ulmer refused to ask for Beaver's release on R.O.R. bail even though Beaver specifically requested such release from Ulmer. Id. Additionally, Beaver asserts that Ulmer conspired with the prosecution to not have him released and that Ulmer did nothing to bring his case to trial. Id. For relief, Beaver seeks $2, 000, 000 for his damages as a result of his treatment at the Northumberland County Prison, $2, 000, 000 in damages from Judge Knight, and $2, 000, 000 in damages from Ulmer.

In Beaver's motion to appoint counsel, he states that he is a "Lay Person of the Law, " he has computer problems, and this case is beyond his legal experience. Doc. 8. Beaver also states that he lost all the data on this case and he requests copies of all motions. Id.

II. Discussion.

A. Screening of Pro Se Complaints Standard of Review.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), if the plaintiff establishes that he or she is unable to pay the costs of the suit, the court may allow a plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis. In re Binsack, 446 F.Appx. 445, 447 (3d Cir. 2011). Although there is language in the statute that refers to prisoners, § 1915(a) is not restricted to prisoner suits. Martinez v. Kristie Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1306 n. 1 (11th Cir. 2004). In an action in which the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, we are obliged to review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) which provides:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, 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 upon which relief may ...

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