United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD P. CONABOY, United States District Judge
Lorenzano, an inmate presently confined at the State
Correctional Institution, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
(SCI-Huntingdon) filed this pro se civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Plaintiff has also
submitted an in forma pauperis application which
will be granted for the sole purpose of the filing of this
action with this Court.
as sole Defendant in the rambling, at times repetitive
complaint is Hallie Reihart, who is described as being an
SCI-Huntingdon Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).Lorenzano asserts
that Reihart is often responsible for the distribution of
medication to inmates and has an admitted history of filing
false reports. The Complaint adds that Plaintiff suffers
from asthma for which he receives medication i including an
states that since arriving at SCI-Huntingdon in 2014 he has
repeatedly had problems with the Defendant's "mouth
disposition." Doc. 1, ¶ IV(1). After filing
administrative complaints beginning in 2015 against Reihart,
Lorenzano contends that the Defendant retaliated against him
by making false statements and filing false reports,
specifically two baseless misconduct charges. It is noted
that here is no discernible claim that the prisoner was
denied needed medical care by the Defendant.
indicates that as a result of an initial falsified misconduct
charge initiated by Reihart and a coworker, he was allegedly
placed in the prison's Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) and
spent thirty (30) days in disciplinary confinement.
See id., p. 5. The Defendant filed a second
misconduct charge against the Plaintiff which is described as
being falsified and retaliatory. It is also vaguely alleged
that Reihart subjected Lorenzano to verbal abuse. The
Complaint seeks compensatory damages for emotional distress
and injunctive relief.
considering a complaint accompanied by a motion to proceed in
forma pauperis, a district court may rule that i
process should not issue 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),
Douris v. Middleton Township, 293 Fed.Appx. 130, 132
(3d Cir. 2008}. Indisputably 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. 1990)).
order to state a viable civil rights claim a plaintiff must
make a showing that the conduct complained of was committed
by a person acting under color of law and that said conduct
deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by
the Constitution or by a statute of the United States.
Cohen v. City of Philadelphia, 736 F.2d 81,
83 (3d Cir. 1984). Each named defendant must be shown, via
the complaint's allegations, to have been personally
involved in the events or occurrences which underlie those
claims set forth in the Complaint. Rode v.
Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir.
pro se litigants are afforded liberal treatment,
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), based
upon the deficiencies outlined herein the Complaint is
subject to dismissal.
complaint asserts in part that he is seeking an award of
monetary damages for emotional distress. See Doc. 1,
SI V. For the reasons outlined below, Lorenzano is not
entitled to recover compensatory damages for mental anguish
or emotional injury.
U.S.C. § l997e(e) provides that "[n]o federal civil
action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail,
prison or other correctional facility, for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury." In Allah v.
Al-Hafeez, 226 F.3d 247, 250 (3d Cir. 2000), the United
States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recognized that
where a plaintiff fails to allege actual injury, Section
l997e(e) bars recovery of compensatory damages. However, the
Court of Appeals added that an inmate alleging a violation of
his constitutional rights may still pursue the action to
recover nominal and/or punitive damages even in the absence
of compensable harm. Under the standards announced in