United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
John E. Jones, III Judge
Williams (“Plaintiff”), at all relevant times, an
inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at
Dallas (“SCI-Dallas”), Pennsylvania, filed this
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on
December 19, 2016, naming as defendants Lawrence P. Mahally
(“Mahally”) and Robin Lucas
(“Lucas”). (Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks to proceed
in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2).
federal court must dismiss a civil action filed in forma
pauperis if the court determines that the complaint
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). For the
reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the
complaint is subject to dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is
identical to the legal standard used when ruling on Rule
12(b)(6) motions. Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d
236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999) (applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
standard to dismissal for failure to state a claim under
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544
(2007). In reviewing the legal sufficiency of a complaint,
the Court must accept the truth of the factual allegations.
Morrison v. Madison Dearborn Capital Partners III
L.P., 463 F.3d 312, 314 (3d Cir. 2006). Notably, the
assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or
to “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The controlling question is
whether the complaint “alleges enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (rejecting the “no
set of facts” language from Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) and requiring plaintiffs to allege
facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level”); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (explaining that Rule 8 requires more than “an
unadorned, the- defendant unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation”); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)
(stating that the complaint should include “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief”).
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).
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
alleges that, on November 28, 2014, he slipped and fell on
ice on that was “left on the [outdoor] track [at
SCI-Dallas] without consideration of dangerous, icy
conditions.” (Doc. 1, p. 2). He alleges that
“this neglect” caused his slip and fall which
resulted in two broken bones in his right leg. (Id.
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private
citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by
state officials. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress. . . .
Id.; see also Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273,
284-85 (2002); Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199, 1204
(3d Cir. 1996). To state a claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege “the violation of a right secured
by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must
show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person
acting under color of state law.” West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). A court may dismiss a
complaint for failure to state a claim, based on a time-bar,
where “the time alleged in the statement of a claim
shows that the cause of action has not been brought within
the statute of limitations.” Bethel v. Jendoco
Construction Corp., 570 F.2d 1168, 1174 (3d Cir. 1978)
(citation omitted). Although the statute of limitations is an
affirmative defense which may be waived by the defendant, it
is appropriate to dismiss sua sponte under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2) a pro se civil rights claim whose
untimeliness is apparent from the face of the complaint.
See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 214-15 (2007)
(holding if the allegations of a complaint, “for
example, show that relief is barred by the applicable statute
of limitations, the complaint is subject to dismissal for
failure to state a claim”).
brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is subject to the
same statute of limitations that applies to personal injury
tort claims in the state in which such a claim arises.
See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007);
Kach v. Hose, 589 F.3d 626, 639 (3d Cir. 2009).
Williams's claim arose in Pennsylvania; thus, the
applicable statute of limitations is Pennsylvania's two
year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. 42
Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5524(2). The statute of
limitations period accrues when the plaintiff knows or has
reason to know of the injury which is the basis of the
section 1983 action. See Garvin v. City of Phila.,
354 F.3d 215 (3d Cir. 2003); Genty v. Resolution Trust
Corp., 937 F.2d 899, 919 (3d Cir.1991). It is clear from
the complaint that the claim accrued on November 28, 2014,
the date of the slip and fall. This action was commenced on
December 16, 2016, the date on which the complaint was signed
and presumably delivered to prison authorities for mailing;
approximately eighteen days after the ...