United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
WILLIAM W. CALDWELL, District Judge.
The pro se plaintiff, Rafael Fermin, an inmate at the Fayette State Correctional Institution in LaBelle, Pennsylvania, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as defendants are: Judge John Chronister of the York County Court of Common Pleas; John E. Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; and C. Hoffman, Parole Technician with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation.
Fermin seeks permission to proceed in forma pauperis. The Complaint is before the court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). For the reasons that follow we will grant Fermin's motion to proceed in forma pauperis but dismiss the Complaint due to Fermin's failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted against any of the named defendants. However, Fermin will be granted the opportunity to file an amended complaint.
II. Standard of Review
A federal court may dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A if "the action 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." Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013). "The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to a motion filed under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." See Davis v. Samuels, No. 14-4162, 2015 WL 1412097, *2 (3d Cir. 2015)(citing Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000)).
In considering a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), "[w]e accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.'" Byers v. Intuit, Inc., 600 F.3d 286, 291 (3d Cir. 2010)(quoted case omitted).
A complaint need only contain "a short and plain statement of the claim, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and detailed factual allegations are not required, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Nonetheless, a complaint has to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955 at 1974. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965). "[L]abels and conclusions" are not enough, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65, and a court "is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'" Id., 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (quoted case omitted).
A complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be liberally construed and "held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Fantone v. Latini, 780 F.3d 184 (3d Cir. 2015)(citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972)); see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). Nonetheless, the complaint still "must contain allegations permitting the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'" Jackson v. Div. of Developmental Disabilities, 394 F.Appx. 950, 951 n.3 (3d Cir. 2010)(per curiam) (nonprecedential)(quoted case omitted). Pro se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative amended complaint even when a plaintiff does not seek leave to amend, unless such an amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Estate of Lagano v. Bergen Cnty. Prosecutor's Office, 769 F.3d 850, 861 (3d Cir. 2014).
Fermin's entire Statement of Claim is set forth below.
Unlawful restraint, cruel and unusual punishment, illegal incarceration, false imprisonment, official oppression, ethnic intimidation, racial discrimination, there's a lack of subject matter jurisdiction and [he is] being held in custody illegally - [his] constitutional rights and equal protection is being violated.
All three defendants are violating constitutional law and criminal law of Pennsylvania and the United States Constitution.
(Doc. 1, Compl., ECF pp. 2-3). As relief, Fermin seeks his release from custody and a temporary restraining order for unspecified injunctive relief. ...