United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge.
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.
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) and 28 U.S.C. §1915A,
dismissed, without prejudice, the Pennsylvania State Police
and Plaintiff's claims regarding his ongoing state
criminal proceedings from the complaint. (Docs. 6,
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.
Allegations in Complaint
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).
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.
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
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.”
Motion to Dismiss
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).
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).
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 ...