United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
NATHANIEL L. ADDERLY, Plaintiff,
CPL. WILSON, et al., Defendants.
EDWIN M. KOSIK, District Judge.
Nathaniel L. Adderly, an inmate confined at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are Corporal Wilson and Trooper Connors, two Pennsylvania State Police Officers, Counselor Keller and Records Specialist Cheryl Zalandonis, Department of Corrections employees at SCI-Dallas, and Magistrate Judge James Tupper. Before the court is a motion to dismiss the complaint filed on behalf of all defendants except Tupper. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.
I. Standard of Review
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "accept as true all [factual] allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007)(quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it "may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).
Federal notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide "the defendant notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). To test the sufficiency of the complaint in the face of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must conduct a three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). In the first step, "the court must tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'" Id . (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 675, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated; well-pleaded facts must be accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be disregarded. Id .; see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the well-pleaded factual allegations have been isolated, the court must determine whether they are sufficient to show a "plausible claim for relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level"). A claim "has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
II. Allegations in the Complaint
The majority of claims asserted by Plaintiff center around his alleged unlawful prosecution and conviction for failure to comply with registration of sexual offender requirements pursuant to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 4915.1(a)(1). In asserting such claims, he alleges that Defendants unlawfully prosecuted him by giving false testimony under oath and conspired against him to bring false charges. He also raises claims of retaliation. The specifics of the claims alleged are as follows.
Plaintiff states that he was transferred to SCI-Dallas from SCI-Frackville on April 29, 2010, after being found not guilty in a jury trial involving charges leveled against him by SCI-Frackville officers for assault of a prisoner. On May 3, 2010, Defendant Keller was assigned as his counselor, and Plaintiff claims that he was "hostile" toward him, because he referenced the charges of which Plaintiff had been absolved. The Program Review Committee at SCI-Dallas instructed Keller to investigate Plaintiff's assertions that he had been found not guilty of the prisoner assault charges. When such was confirmed, Plaintiff states that he was to be released from the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU).
Between May 5, 2010 and October 29, 2010, Plaintiff would inquire of Keller as to whether he confirmed his innocence. Keller would respond that regardless of what happened in court, the prison did not have to release him from the RHU. At this point, it appears that Plaintiff had 18 months left to be served in prison. Plaintiff asserts that he remained in the RHU until October 29, 2010, even though Keller confirmed to the PRC a month earlier that he had been found not guilty of the assault charges. He claims that Keller had an aggressive, hostile attitude towards him as opposed to other inmates. ( Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiff believes that Keller made him stay in the RHU thirty (30) additional days in retaliation for Plaintiff being found "not guilty" on the SCI-Frackville inmate assault charges. ( Id. at 8-9.)
Upon release from the RHU, Plaintiff was housed in E Block. He was assigned to a different counselor there and states that it was a "friendly" atmosphere. About a week later, Plaintiff was told that he was being relocated to I Block, where Defendant Keller would again serve as his counselor. Keller informed Plaintiff that he recommended that he be relocated to I Block and to his caseload, since Keller was familiar with him. ( Id. at 10.)
On March 13, 2011, Plaintiff had a parole staffing meeting with Keller, I Block Unit Manager Josefowicz, and two Doe officers. He claims that Keller was hostile and prejudiced against him, accusing Plaintiff of having a negative attitude while housed in the RHU. Plaintiff claims that he was denied parole based on his misconducts at SCI-Frackville and Keller's negative recommendation. ( Id. at 11-12.)
In April of 2011, Plaintiff states that he filed a civil action against some officers at SCI-Frackville related to being falsely prosecuted for assaulting an inmate. Although he claims that he experienced retaliation for doing so, these allegations are not asserted against any of the defendants named in the instant suit. ( Id. at 12.)
In July of 2011, Plaintiff was summoned to meet with Defendant Zalandonis, the Records Specialist at SCI-Dallas. The meeting was with respect to registration requirements that a residential address and a recent photograph of Plaintiff be provided to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) upon his release on August 26, 2011, his scheduled release date. He informed Zalandonis that he feared retaliation by DOC officials following his release, and therefore he did not wish to provide his residential address. According to Plaintiff, Zalandonis informed him that he had until August 26, 2011 to provide the PSP with this required information. ( Id. at 13.)
On August 22, 2011, four days before he was to be released, Defendant Zalandonis again summoned Plaintiff and requested an address. She stated that the photo would be handled by the I.D. room personnel officials. Plaintiff reiterated ...