United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. Rambo United States District Judge
November 3, 2016, Plaintiff Jason Robinson, an inmate
previously confined at the Northumberland County Prison in
Pennsylvania, filed a pro se civil rights complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 1.) The
defendants named in the complaint are the following: (1)
Brian Wheary, (2) Roy Johnson, (3) James Smink, (4) Robert
Wolfe, (5) Vinny Clausi, (6) Steven Bridy, (7) Richard Shock,
(8) Ann Targonski, (9) Christopher Grayson, and (10) County
of Northumberland. (Id.) Along with his complaint,
Robinson submitted a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and an authorization form. (Doc. Nos. 2 and 3.)
On December 16, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss
the complaint (Doc. No. 10) and brief in support. (Doc. No.
11.) Robinson filed a brief in opposition on January 3, 2017.
(Doc. No. 13.)
alleges that Defendants caused the prison to be without
window closures, hot or warm water, and cleaning products,
all which exposed him to some form of harm. (Doc. No. 1.)
Robinson also alleges that Defendants failed to provide him
with nutritionally adequate food, denied him adequate,
sanitary or proper clothing and bedding, and denied him out
of cell activity. (Id.)
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis will be granted but his
complaint will be dismissed and he will be granted an
opportunity to submit an amended complaint.
Plaintiff complains about prison conditions, the screening
provisions, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) apply, given that
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis. The Court has an obligation to dismiss a
complaint under the PLRA screening provisions “at any
time the court determines” the complaint is frivolous
or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from suit. See, e.g., Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 n. 6 (9th Cir. 2000); 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). 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 pursuant to
the screening provisions of the PLRA. See Lopez, 203
plaintiff, in order to state a viable § 1983 claim, must
plead two essential elements: 1) that the conduct complained
of was committed by a person acting under color of state law,
and 2) that said conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right,
privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of
the United States. Natale v. Camden County Corr.
Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 580-581 (3d Cir. 2003);
Groman v. Township of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 638
(3d Cir. 1995); Shaw by Strain v. Strackhouse, 920
F.2d 1135, 1141-42 (3d Cir. 1990).
rule of pleading requires that a “district court . . .
determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are
sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a ‘plausible
claim for relief.' In other words, a complaint must do
more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A
complaint has to ‘show' such an entitlement with
its facts.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009).
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,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
“[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.' ” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (internal quotation marks omitted).
complaint is completely conclusory and does not specify any
conduct, wrongful or otherwise, of the named defendants. The
following are the facts averred by Robinson in his complaint:
13. At all times, Defendants caused the Northumberland County
Prison to be without window closures, exposing Plaintiff to
freezing temperatures during the winter months.
14. At all times, Defendants caused the Northumberland County
Prison to be without hot or warm water, exposing Plaintiff to
the unhygienic conditions associated with being unable to
15. At all times, Defendants caused the Northumberland County
Prison to be without cleaning products, exposing Plaintiff to
the unhygienic conditions associated with being unable ...