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Robinson v. Nutter

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

February 6, 2017

DARNELL ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL NUTTER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          STENGEL, J.

         Pro se plaintiff Darnell Robinson brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges violations of his constitutional rights while incarcerated at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (“CFCF”). Defendants, Michael Nutter, Louis Giorla, and John Delaney (“defendants”) have filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         For the reasons described below, the motion to dismiss will granted. Plaintiff will be given leave to file an amended complaint.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at CFCF in Philadelphia from March 6, 2011 to January 7, 2013. During that time, he claims he was housed in a three-person cell that was originally designed for two people. Plaintiff asserts what is commonly referred to as a “triple celling” claim. Plaintiff alleges he is forced to sleep in a “boat.”[1] This boat is situated next to the toilet, exposing plaintiff to urine and fecal matter.

         Plaintiff also alleges he was subjected to inadequate medical treatment. He claims the prison has subjected him to “lockdowns, ” inadequate medical care, neglected his basic life's necessities, barred him access to the courts, alienated him from his family, and put him under risk of serious harm. Plaintiff claims he has experienced bugs, roaches, and mice in his cell.

         Plaintiff further alleges his mattress is not sterilized and his laundry is not done properly. Finally, plaintiff alleges that the defendants “each play an integral part in the Daily [sic] operations at CFCF.” (Doc. No. 7 at 3). He has named former Mayor Michael Nutter, Louis Giorla, CFCF Warden John Delaney, and the Prison Health System as defendants.[2]

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted examines the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). The factual allegations must be sufficient to make the claim for relief more than just speculative. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss, a federal court must construe the complaint liberally, accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id.; see also D.P. Enters. v. Bucks County Cmty. Coll., 725 F.2d 943, 944 (3d Cir.1984).

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a plaintiff to plead in detail all of the facts upon which she bases her claim. Conley, 355 U.S. at 47. Rather, the Rules require a “short and plain statement” of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Id. The “complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 564. Neither “bald assertions” nor “vague and conclusory allegations” are accepted as true. See Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997); Sterling v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transp. Auth., 897 F.Supp. 893 (E.D. Pa. 1995). The claim must contain enough factual matters to suggest the required elements of the claim or to “raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” those elements. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court defined a two-pronged approach to a court's review of a motion to dismiss. “First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. Thus, while “Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era . . . it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79.

         A court “may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.” Brown v. Card Service Ctr., 464 F.3d 450, 456 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)). Courts construe a plaintiff's allegations liberally when he or she is proceeding pro se. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The defendants offer one basis in support of their motion to dismiss. They argue that the complaint fails to state a claim because plaintiff has not alleged any facts indicating the defendants had “personal involvement” in the constitutional ...


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