United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge
Rios initiated this pro se civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as sole Defendant is
the Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania..
See Doc. 1, ¶ III.. Along with his
complaint, Rios submitted an in forma pauperis
application. For the reasons set forth below,
Plaintiff's action will be dismissed, without prejudice,
as legally frivolous pursuant to the screening provisions of
28 U.S.C. § 1915.
to the Complaint, Plaintiff was confined in the Dauphin
County Prison on September 29, 2015 when he allegedly fell
while getting down from his upper bunk bed. Specifically,
Rios asserts that his foot slipped as he was trying to step
down onto a table. As a result of the fall, Plaintiff
suffered a laceration to his forehead which required eight
sutures and “a split & swollen right
eye.” Doc. 1 ¶ IV(1). He also allegedly
suffered memory loss, blurred vison, headaches, and
dizziness. Rios contends that his fall “was due to the
lack of safety ladders not installed on all top beds in cells
or dayrooms.” Id. at (2). Plaintiff also
points out that he remained assigned to the top bunk for
approximately one (1) month following the incident before
being assigned to a lower bunk. The complaint seeks
compensatory damages and injunctive relief (including
installation of safety ladders and railings).
28 U.S.C. § 1915 imposes obligations on prisoners who
file civil actions in federal court and wish to proceed
in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915,
e.g., that the full filing fee ultimately be paid
(at least in a non-habeas suit) § 1915(e)(2)provides:
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof,
that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at
any time if the court determines that (A) the allegation of
poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal (i) is
frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief.
considering a complaint accompanied by a motion to proceed
in forma pauperis, a district court may
rule that process should not be issued if the complaint is
malicious, presents an indisputably meritless legal theory,
or is predicated on clearly baseless factual contentions.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989);
Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir.
meritless legal theories are those “in which either it
is readily apparent that the plaintiff's complaint lacks
an arguable basis in law or that the defendants are clearly
entitled to immunity from suit ... .” Roman v.
Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting
Sultenfuss v. Snow, 894 F.2d 1277, 1278 (11th Cir.
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
added that “the plain meaning of ‘frivolous'
authorizes the dismissal of in forma pauperis claims
that . . . are of little or no weight, value, or importance,
not worthy of serious consideration, or trivial.”
Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1083 (3d
Cir. 1995). It also has been determined that “the
frivolousness determination is a discretionary one, ”
and trial courts “are in the best position” to
determine when an indigent litigant's complaint is
appropriate for summary dismissal. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
initially lists his address as 310 North Third Street,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the caption of his pending
complaint. See Doc. 1, p. 1. However,
Plaintiff's accompanying in forma pauperis
application asserts that his address is 39 North Fourth
Street, Lemoyne, Pennsylvania.
Pa. Local Rule 83.18 provides that a pro se litigant
has an affirmative obligation to keep the Court informed of
his or her address and must immediately inform the Court if
his or her address changes in the course of the litigation.
Given that documents filed by Rios with this Court on the
same day listed two totally different addresses, there is a
question as to whether Plaintiff has properly complied with
the requirements of Local Rule 83.18.