United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MARTIN C. CARLSON, Magistrate Judge.
I. Statement of Facts and of The Case
This is a pro se civil rights case filed by the plaintiff, a state prisoner. (Doc. 1.) In his complaint Gadra-Lord complains about his medical care in May 2013, the conditions of his confinement at this time, and food service he has received from various unnamed defendants while recovering from injuries he received in a fall. (Id.) While the complaint makes these factual recitals regarding unnamed defendants, the only defendant identified by name in the complaint is Deputy Vuksta, who is simply identified as a supervisor at SCI Mahanoy. (Id.) While he is identified in the caption of the case, Gadra-Lord's complaint then contains no factual recitals regarding the alleged involvement of Deputy Vuksta in any of the events set forth in the complaint. (Id.) Thus, as to defendant Vuksta, the only named defendant in this lawsuit, the complaint is devoid of any well-pleaded facts.
Along with his complaint, Gadra-Lord has filed a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 5.) We will grant the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis , (Doc. 5.), but as part of our legally-mandated screening review we find that Gadra-Lord has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted with respect to Deputy Vuksta, the supervisory defendant named in his complaint and the only defendant identified by name in this pleading. Therefore, we recommend that the Court dismiss the claims lodged against this defendant for failure to presently state a claim upon which relief can be granted, without prejudice to allowing the plaintiff to attempt to correct the deficiencies noted in this report and recommendation by filing an amended complaint.
A. Screening of Pro Se In forma Pauperis Complaints-Standard of Review
This Court has an on-going statutory obligation to conduct a preliminary review of pro se complaints brought by plaintiffs given leave to proceed in forma pauperis in cases which seek redress against government officials. Specifically, we are obliged to review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A which provides, in pertinent part:
(a) Screening. - The 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.
(b) Grounds for dismissal. - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
Under Section 1915A, the court must assess whether a pro se complaint "fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." This statutory text mirrors the language of Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that a complaint should be dismissed for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
With respect to this benchmark standard for legal sufficiency of a complaint, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has aptly noted the evolving standards governing pleading practice in federal court, stating that:
Standards of pleading have been in the forefront of jurisprudence in recent years. Beginning with the Supreme Court's opinion in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544 (2007) continuing with our opinion in Phillips [v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 230 (3d Cir. 2008)]and culminating recently with the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal ___ U.S. ___ , 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) pleading standards have seemingly shifted from simple notice pleading to a more ...