United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
Nathan Joseph Reigle (“Reigle”) a former inmate
housed at the Northumberland County Prison Coal Township
Pennsylvania commenced this action pursuant to 42 USC §
(Doc 1) Named as defendants are Warden Bruce Kovach Records
Supervisor Mark Ferguson and Prison Board Members Robert Wolf
Vinny Clausi Steven Bridy Richard Shoch Ann Targonski and
Christopher Grayson (Id.) Before the court is
defendants' motion (Doc 33) to dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) For the reasons set
forth below the motion will be granted and Reigle will be
afforded the opportunity to file an amended complaint.
Allegations of the Complaint
alleges that defendant Kovach denied inmates access to the
law library from April 21 2015 through July 16 2015 (Doc 1,
p. 1, ¶ 1). He claims that this alleged denial hindered
inmates' ability to file and receive legal documents.
(Id.) Reigle further alleges that defendant Kovach
oversees prison operations denying inmates outside fresh air
and exercise. (Id. at p. 4, ¶ 2).
Reigle alleges that defendant Ferguson denied inmates their
Post-Conviction Relief Act forms and sentencing orders from
May 7, 2015 through July 15, 2015. (Id. at p. 4,
Reigle states that defendants Wolfe, Clausi, Bridy, Shoch,
Targonski, and Grayson, in their roles as Northumberland
County board members, “oversee that prison policy and
procedures are not violating inmates['] rights to access
court, law library and exercise.” (Id. at pp.
3-4, ¶ 4).
Standard of Review
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When
ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court
must “accept as true all [factual] allegations in the
complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn
therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170,
177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423
F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is
generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the
complaint, it “may also consider matters of public
record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items
appearing in the record of the case.” Oshiver v.
Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384
n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat
Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).
notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide
“the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests.” Phillips v. Cty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To test the sufficiency of the complaint in the face
of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must conduct a
three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Twp.,
629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). In the first step,
“the court must 'tak[e] note of the elements a
plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'”
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 675 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a
claim should be separated; well-pleaded facts must be
accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be
disregarded. Id.; see also Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the
well-pleaded factual allegations have been isolated, the
court must determine whether they are sufficient to show a
“plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555 (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to
“raise a right to relief above the speculative
level”). 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 678.
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private
citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by
state officials See 42 USC § 1983 The statute provides
in pertinent part as follows:
Every person who under color of any statute ordinance
regulation custom or usage of any State or Territory or the
District of Columbia subjects or causes to be subjected any
citizen of the United States or other person within the
jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights
privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws
shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law suit
in equity or other proper proceeding for redress.....
Id; see also Gonzaga Univ v. Doe 536 U.S.
273 284-85 (2002); Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199
1204 (3d Cir 1996) To state a claim under § 1983 a
plaintiff must allege “the violation of a right secured
by the Constitution and laws of the United States and must
show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person
acting under color of state law” West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 48 (1988).