United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, J.
Lawrence sued former Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter,
Philadelphia Prison System Commissioner Louis Giorla, and
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility Warden John Delaney
alleging that they violated his constitutional rights by,
inter alia, housing Lawrence in a three-person cell
that was originally designed for two people. The Court grants
Defendants' motion to dismiss because Lawrence has not
alleged that any of the individual Defendants were personally
involved in the alleged underlying constitutional violation.
Lawrence may amend his complaint again, consistent with the
original action was one of approximately 700 overcrowding
cases that were consolidated and where the sole defendant was
the City of Philadelphia. See Lawrence v. Nutter,
655 F.App'x 129 (3d Cir. 2016). Lawrence was initially
represented by counsel. In December 2013, the City reached an
agreement with Plaintiffs' counsel. Lawrence rejected the
settlement, his attorney withdrew from the case in April 2014
and Lawrence continued with this litigation pro se.
Id. at 130.
15, 2014, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 12.)
Lawrence did not file a response. Judge Shapiro instructed
him to respond; when he failed to do so, she granted the
Defendants' motion. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals
reversed, concluding that the district court abused its
discretion by dismissing Lawrence's suit without
addressing the factors set forth in Poulis v. State Farm
Fire & Casualty Company, 747 F.2d 863, 868 (3d Cir.
1984). See Lawrence, 655 F.App'x at 131.
filed his Amended Complaint on July 25, 2017. (ECF No. 23.)
Defendants filed a second motion to dismiss on July 27, 2016.
(ECF No. 24.) On December 20, 2016, the case was reassigned
to this Court. (ECF No. 28.) On January 27, 2017, the Court
ordered Lawrence to file a response to the Defendants'
motion. (ECF No. 30.) Lawrence responded on February 21,
Amended Complaint alleges he is a pretrial detainee currently
housed in Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. (Am. Compl.
¶ 7.) Lawrence explains that while the unit he
is housed in was originally constructed to hold 64 inmates,
due to severe overcrowding, it now houses 96 inmates.
(Id.) Prisoners are housed in three-person cells
where one person sleeps on a plastic “boat, ”
which is a plastic tray used as a bed. (Id. ¶
8); see also Robinson v. Nutter, No. 13-538, 2017 WL
1330507, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 3, 2017). The boat is kept near
the cell's toilet, which exposes it to urine and fecal
matter. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) Lawrence also alleges the
prison has subjected him to, inter alia, lockdowns,
dangerous and unhealthy conditions and inadequate laundry
practices. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 12, & 14.)
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must provide “more than labels and conclusions”
or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). “Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Id. (citation omitted). While a
complaint need not include detailed facts, it must provide
“more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
and Iqbal require the Court to take three steps to
determine whether the second amended complaint will survive
Defendants' motion to dismiss. See Connelly v. Lane
Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016). First,
it must “take note of the elements the plaintiff must
plead to state a claim.” Id. (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675). Next, it must identify the
allegations that are no more than legal conclusions and thus
“not entitled to the assumption of truth.”
Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
Finally, where the complaint includes well-pleaded factual
allegations, the Court “should assume their veracity
and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.” Id. (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
“presumption of truth attaches only to those
allegations for which there is sufficient factual matter to
render them plausible on their face.” Schuchardt v.
President of the United States, 839 F.3d 336, 347 (3d
Cir. 2016) (internal quotation and citation omitted).
“Conclusory assertions of fact and legal conclusions
are not entitled to the same presumption.” Id.
This plausibility determination is a “context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id.
(quoting Connelly, 809 F.3d at 786-87).
plausibility standard, however, “does not impose a
heightened pleading requirement” and does not require a
plaintiff to plead specific facts. Id. In other
words, “courts cannot inject evidentiary issues into
the plausibility determination.” Id. The Third
Circuit has also made it clear that “at least for
purposes of pleading sufficiency, a complaint need not
establish a prima facie case in order to survive a
motion to dismiss” because a “prima facie case is
an evidentiary standard, not a pleading requirement and hence
is not proper measure of whether a complaint fails to state a
claim.” Connelly, 809 F.3d at 789 (internal
quotations and citations omitted). Instead, a plaintiff
should plead “enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the
necessary elements.” Id. (quoting Phillips
v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)).
because Lawrence filed his complaint pro se, the
Court “must liberally construe his pleadings.”
Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir.
2003) (citation omitted); see also Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (holding pro se complaints
to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers”). “Liberal construction of
pro se pleadings is merely an embellishment of the
notice-pleading standard set forth in the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure.” Castro v. United States, 540
U.S. 375, 386 (2003) (Scalia, J., concurring) (citation and
quotation omitted). “Courts are to construe complaints
so ‘as to do substantial justice, ' keeping in mind
that pro se ...