United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
se plaintiff, Steven Margretta, an inmate at the State
Correctional Institution in Benner Township (SCI-Benner),
Pennsylvania, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil-rights
action challenging the loss of his prison job. He names as
defendants the following SCI-Benner officials: Tammy
Ferguson, the prison's superintendent; Nadine Ramirez,
Head of the Education Department; Cheryl Garmon, Director of
Inmate Employment; Richard Hamor, Unit Manager of C-Block;
and Terry Gummo, inmate counsel. Also named as defendants are
the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), and John E.
Wetzel, Secretary of the Department of Corrections. The
individual defendants have been named in their individual and
Margretta seeks to proceed in forma pauperis in this
action, the Complaint is before us for screening pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915. For the following reasons, the
Complaint will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). However, Margretta will be permitted to
file an amended complaint on his equal protection claim.
Standard of Review
required to screen Margretta's Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The court must dismiss a complaint, or any
portion thereof, if the prisoner has raised claims that are
legally frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. §
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.
Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir.
2000). Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must “take as true all
the factual allegations of the [complaint] and the reasonable
inferences that can be drawn from them, but we disregard
legal conclusions and recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 128 (3d
Cir. 2010)(quotation marks omitted and citation omitted).
test in reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is whether, under any
‘plausible' reading of the pleadings, the plaintiff
would be entitled to relief." Guidotti v. Legal
Helpers Debt Resolution, L.L.C., 716 F.3d 764 (3d Cir.
2013) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). To
satisfy this standard, 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,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964.
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. at 1974. “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant 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).
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). Yet, even a pro se plaintiff
“must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to
support a claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina,
Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir.2013) (citation
omitted). A plaintiff is to be granted leave to file a
curative amended complaint even when he does not seek leave
to amend, unless amendment would be inequitable or futile.
See Estate of Lagano v. Bergen Cnty. Prosecutor's
Office, 769 F.3d 850, 861 (3d Cir. 2014).
Complaint, Margretta alleges as follows. Since August 2015,
he has been employed as a library worker in SCI-Benner's
institutional library. (ECF No. 1, p. 3) He has received
positive progress reports from his supervisor, Ms. Wyandt,
the lead librarian at the prison library, and receives
35¢ an hour in compensation for his services as a
25, 2016, Margretta was summoned to a meeting. In attendance
at that meeting were Ms. Ramirez, Head of the Education
Department; Ms. Garmon, Director of Inmate Employment; Mr.
Hamor, Unit Manager of C-Block; and Mr. Gummo, Inmate
Counsel. Ms. Wyandt was not aware of the meeting until
immediately before it took place. Margretta's prison
employment as a library worker was terminated at the meeting.
claims Ramirez, Garmon, Hamor and Gummo removed him from his
job in violation of the DOC's administrative directives.
According to Plaintiff, DC-ADM 816, Section 1(M)(7) reads:
Removal of an inmate from a work assignment for reasons other
than misconduct or medical necessity must be handled by a
Unit Management Team action. The Supervisor must submit in
writing information regarding the reaso[n](s) to the Unit
Management Team, who will discuss the situation with the
inmate and attempt to resolve the problem. The Unit