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Mayon v. Wetzel

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 3, 2017

MICKY MAYON, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN WETZEL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          Cynthia Reed Eddy United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Presently before the Court is Defendants Mark Cappozza, Leo Dunn and John Wetzel's Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 45, 62] and Defendants Colin Fischetti and Gaudenzia, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 47]. The motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, said motions are GRANTED and Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Micky Mayon (“Plaintiff” or “Mayon”) a prisoner presently confined at State Correctional Institution (“SCI”) at Fayette and proceeding pro se, initiated this civil rights action on August 8, 2015. [ECF Nos. 1, 4]. Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss [ECF Nos. 29, 35]. Plaintiff responded to the motions by filing an Amended Complaint and a “Notice, ” supplementing the Amended Complaint [ECF Nos. 41, 42]. Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss the Amended Complaint [ECF Nos. 45, 47] to which Plaintiff filed an Omnibus Response [ECF No. 59]. On February 6, 2017, the Court ordered supplemental briefing [ECF no. 65], which the parties provided. [ECF Nos. 66, 67, 70].

         All defendants are named solely in their official capacities and Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief only. [ECF Nos. 41, ¶¶ 1- 5, 64, 65; 42].

         Mayon is presently a Pennsylvania state prisoner incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution (“SCI”) at Fayette. The allegations which give rise to this Complaint occurred while Mayon was incarcerated at SCI-Pittsburgh, prior to his transfer to SCI-Fayette in March 2014. According to Plaintiff, while incarcerated at SCI-Pittsburgh, in order to qualify for parole, Mayon entered a rehabilitative program called Therapeutic Community (“T.C.”). He alleges that he was denied parole because he did not survive T.C.[2] Mayon refers to T.C. as “The Pogroms.” [3] Mayon alleges that participation in T.C. violates his First Amendment rights, the Eighth Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc-2000cc-5. He alleges that there is nothing rehabilitative about T.C. and that his participation in T.C. violates his beliefs because, inter alia:

At an early age, Plaintiff was inoculated with a healthy skepticism of big oppressive governments (Revelation 13:1-9) and other Christian tenets like tattling is a sin (II Timothy 3:1-4, Proverbs 30:10-14). Plaintiff retains these beliefs to this day. Without regard for Plaintiff or his beliefs, the Defendants forced him to say and do the reverse.

[ECF No. 41, ¶ 30].

         III. Standards of Review

         1. Pro Se Litigants

         Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). As such, a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 must be construed liberally, Hunterson v. DiSabato, 308 F.3d 236, 243 (3d Cir. 2002), so “as to do substantial justice.” Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 234 (3d Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). In other words, if the court can reasonably read pleadings to state a valid claim on which the litigant could prevail, it should do so despite failure to cite proper legal authority, confusion of legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or the litigant's unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364 (1982); United States ex rel. Montgomery v. Bierley, 141 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir.1969) (petition prepared by a prisoner may be inartfully drawn and should be read “with a measure of tolerance”). Notwithstanding this liberality, pro se litigants are not relieved of their obligation to allege sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim. See, e.g., Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378 (5th Cir. 2002). Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, this Court may consider facts and make inferences where it is appropriate.

         2. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

         The applicable inquiry under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is well settled. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint that merely alleges entitlement to relief, without alleging facts that show entitlement, must be dismissed. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 211 (3d Cir. 2009). This “‘does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead ‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary elements.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Nevertheless, the ...


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