United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
LEE E. CRAWFORD, Plaintiff,
WARDEN ROBERT MCMILLAN, ET AL., Defendants.
H. RAMBO United States District Judge
the Court for screening is a civil action filed by pro
se Plaintiff, Lee E. Crawford, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Doc. No. 1.) Upon review of the allegations
within the complaint, the Court will dismiss the complaint
pursuant to the doctrines of res judicata and the
statute of limitations.
initiated this civil action by filing a complaint (Doc. No.
1) on April II, 2017, regarding the medical care he was
receiving while a federal pretrial detainee confined at the
Lackawanna County Prison. Named as defendants are the following
individuals and entities: (1) Robert McMillan, Warden of
Lackawanna County Prison; (2) Edward J. Zaloga, D.O.; (3)
Correctional Care, Inc.; (4) Anthony Iannuzzi, Certified
Registered Nurse Practitioner; (5) Ken McCawley, Nursing
Supervisor; (6) Sergeant Kennedy, a correctional officer; (7)
John Doe #1, an unknown dentist; (8) John Doe #2, an unknown
psychologist; and (9) John Doe #3, an unknown food service
administrator. (Doc No. 1.)
gist of the complaint is that Crawford contends that he was
not properly treated for numerous alleged medical ailments.
Crawford also alleges that he was discriminated against on
November 1, 2013 in retaliation for him being a Muslim by
John Doe #3. Crawford also alleges that Sergeant Kennedy
retaliated against him, but does not further elaborate as to
why. Crawford's complaint alleges that he was confined at
the Lackawanna County Prison from about April 2, 2013 through
February 26, 2015, when he was transferred to Pike County
Correctional Facility. (Doc. No. 1 at 4.) Crawford also
provides that he attempted to litigate these claims
previously but the same were dismissed. (Id.)
Court notes that in the previously litigated case,
Crawford v. McMillan, et al, Civ. No. 1:14-CV-1936
(M.D. Pa. July 26, 2016), affirmed No. 16-3412 (3d
Cir. Oct. 13, 2016), Crawford brought forth substantially the
same claims against the same named Defendants as named in the
present case. In that previous action filed on October 7,
2014, Crawford named as Defendants Edward Zaloga, D.O,
Correctional Care, Inc., Anthony Iannuzzi, Ken McCawley
(“Medical Defendants”), and Warden McMillan. This
Court, by memorandum and Order dated June 7, 2016, dismissed
the medical negligence claims and deliberate indifference
claims against the Medical Defendants and Warden McMillan,
but granted Crawford leave to amend only his deliberate
indifference claim. Crawford attempted to amend the
complaint, and in doing so, named new defendants including
Sergeant Kennedy, and an unnamed dentist and psychologist.
This Court, by memorandum and Order dated July 26, 2016,
dismissed the amended complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted without further leave to
amend as it related to the Medical Defendants and Warden
McMillan. However, this Court provided that the new claims
against Sergeant Kennedy and the unnamed psychologist and
dentist were dismissed without prejudice to any right to file
a new complaint.
subsequently filed this substantially similar action naming
the Medical Defendants and Warden McMillian that were
dismissed from the previous action as well as Sergeant
Kennedy and the unnamed psychologist and dentist who were
dismissed without prejudice from the previous action.
Crawford has moved to proceed in forma pauperis
(Doc. Nos. 2 and 7), which the Court will grant. Given that
Crawford complains about prison conditions, the screening
provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e) apply.
to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2),
the Court is required to screen in forma pauperis
complaints prior to service and “shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines that ... the action ...
(i) is frivolous or malicious [or] (ii) fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). An action is
“frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis in either
law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). Factual allegations are “clearly
baseless” if they are “fanciful, ”
“fantastic, ” or “delusional, ”
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328, or where “the facts
alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly
incredible.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
33 (1992). “[A] finding of factual frivolousness is
appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the
irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are
judicially noticeable facts available to contradict
them.” Id. at 33.
U.S.C. § 1915's failure to state a claim standard
mirrors Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, which authorizes the dismissal of a complaint for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 12(b)(6). Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading
must set forth a claim for relief, which contains a short and
plain statement of the claim, showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief. The complaint must provide the defendant
with fair notice of the claim. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The issue in a motion
to dismiss is whether the plaintiff should be entitled to
offer evidence to support the claim, not whether the
plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See Phillips v. Cnty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (the Rule
8 pleading standard “simply calls for enough facts to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence of the necessary element.”); Nami v.
Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996).
onus is on the plaintiff to provide a well-drafted complaint
that alleges factual support for his claims. “While a
complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does
not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (alteration in original and internal
citations omitted). The court need not accept unsupported
inferences, Cal. Pub. Employees Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb
Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004), nor legal
conclusions cast as factual allegations, Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556. Legal conclusions without factual support
are not entitled to the assumption of truth. See Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-679 (2009)
(“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not” satisfy the requirements of Rule 8).
the court winnows the conclusory allegations from those
allegations supported by fact, which it accepts as true, the
court must engage in a common sense review of the claim to
determine whether it is plausible. This is a context-specific
task, for which the court should be guided by its judicial
experience. The court must dismiss the complaint if it fails
to allege enough facts “to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
677 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A
“claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677.
Lastly, a pro se complaint is held to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers” and can only be dismissed for failure to state
a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972).