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Yisrael v. State Police

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 21, 2017

STATE POLICE, et al., Defendants


          MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee, housed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, filed the above captioned civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. (Doc. 1). The named Defendants are the Pennsylvania State Police, the Luzerne County Sheriff's Department and the Medical Director of the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Plaintiff challenges ongoing state criminal proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas for Luzerne County, as well as the alleged mishandling of Plaintiff by the Luzerne County Sheriff's Department, while transporting him from the courtroom, and Plaintiff's alleged injuries and inadequate medical care as a result. The required filing fee has been paid.

         By Memorandum and Order dated June 13, 2016, the Court conducted an initial screening of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)[1] and 28 U.S.C. §1915A, [2] and dismissed, without prejudice, the Pennsylvania State Police and Plaintiff's claims regarding his ongoing state criminal proceedings from the complaint. (Docs. 6, 7).

         Currently pending before the Court is a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, filed on behalf of Defendants Luzerne County Sheriff's Department and the Medical Directory of the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. (Doc. 17). The unopposed motion is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the Court will grant the motion, in part, as noted below.

         II. Allegations in Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that officers of the Pennsylvania State Police were “instrumental in the illegal search and seizure of the residence of 33 W. 10th St. and the unlawful arrest and false imprisonment of Plaintiff against his will as a Sovereign Authority.” (Doc. 1).

         He further claims that officers of the Luzerne County Sheriffs Department “did physically abuse [him] when removing him from courtroom a number of (2) times by banging his body off of walls and doorframe and carrying him by the shackles placed on his feet, resulting in nerve damage and wounds/cuts as a result of their treatment.” Id.

         Finally, Plaintiff states that “Correct Care Solutions failed to provide adequate health care and proper assessment of conditions in a prompt manner and going no further than an ectocardiogram (sic) which showed results of a failing heart and responding to a medical grievance nearly a month after serious conditions were reported.” Id. In support of this allegation, Plaintiff attaches an Inmate Medical Grievance Form to his complaint, in which Plaintiff lists several medical complaints, including losing control of his bladder, sleep apnea and increased breathing. Id. Although the Grievance Form is dated November 16, 2015, it is noted as “received 12/11/15" and responded to that same date with the designation “brought down to medical for immediate assessment.” Id.

         On April 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant action in which he requests “full compensation for [the] number of days imprisoned and detained; full compensation for each incident forced to be subjected to involving court proceedings; reimbursement of loss of investments and/or fund Children College & Community Campus Project for 13 years or pay its equivalent which is 7.2 million over the course of 3 years in thirds; reimburse or employ contractors for damage done to address of 33 W.10th St. home; furnish a protection from abuse against Pennsylvania State Police in its totality; and compensation for pain and suffering during incarceration for the death of loved ones whose funerals [he] could not attend, anxiety and trauma set forth therein.” Id.

         III. Motion to Dismiss

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must “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.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008)). While 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 (2007), a complaint must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. “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 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[L]abels and conclusions” are not enough, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and a court “is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Id. (quoted case omitted).

         In resolving the motion to dismiss, we thus “conduct a two-part analysis.” Fowler, supra, 578 F.3d at 210. First, we separate the factual elements from the legal elements and disregard the legal conclusions. Id. at 210-11. Second, we “determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a “plausible claim for relief”. Id. at 211 (quoted case omitted).

         In addition, because Plaintiff complains about “prison conditions, ” the screening provisions of 42 U.S.C. §1997e apply, as do the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §1915(e), given that he was granted in forma pauperis status to pursue this suit. The court's obligation to dismiss a complaint under the PLRA screening provisions for complaints that fail to state a claim is not excused even after defendants have filed a motion to dismiss. See, e.g., Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 n. 6 (9th Cir. 2000). Hence, if there is a ground for dismissal which was not relied upon by a defendant in a motion to dismiss, the court may nonetheless sua sponte rest its dismissal upon such ground ...

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