United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge.
Molcon, an inmate confined at the Lackawanna County Prison,
Scranton, Pennsylvania initiated this pro se civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Along with
his complaint, Molcon submitted an in forma pauperis
application. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's
action will be dismissed, without prejudice, as legally
frivolous pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
as Defendants are the State Correctional Institution,
Graterford, Pennsylvania (SCI-Graterford), two prison
employees Correctional Officer Natal, Lieutenant Judge, and
ten (10) SCI-Graterford inmates. Plaintiff is also proceeding
against the State Correctional Institution, Frackville,
Pennsylvania (SCI-Frackville) and six(6) prisoners confined
at that facility. Other Defendants include Warden Mickey
Ameigh of the Wyoming County Prison, Tunkhannock,
Pennsylvania; Mike Sillip, who is vaguely described as being
a staff member of Saint Michael's School in Wyoming
County; and Jerry Pitkus, an employee of Wyoming County
Children and Youth.
states that he has been sexually assaulted and abused since
his childhood. His initial claim contends that he was
assaulted by another boy when he was a child at Saint
Michael's School for Boys in Wyoming County and Defendant
Pitkus failed to take any action. This alleged attack
apparently transpired at some point prior to 1993.
Complaint next asserts that while in state prison between
1993-2002 Molcon was repeatedly raped by other prisoners.
Plaintiff further avers that when he later returned to county
prison he was raped by another prisoner. Finally, Plaintiff
vaguely asserts that he was raped by several people at
SCI-Graterford between 2007-2016. The complaint seeks
compensatory damages and injunctive relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915 imposes obligations on prisoners who
file civil actions in federal court and wish to proceed
in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915,
e.g., that the full filing fee ultimately must be
paid (at least in a non-habeas suit) §
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof,
that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at
any time if the court determines that (A) the allegation of
poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal (i) is
frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief.
considering a complaint accompanied by a motion to proceed
in forma pauperis, a district court may rule that
process should not be issued 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);
Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir.
1989). 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)).
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
added that “the plain meaning of ‘frivolous'
authorizes the dismissal of in forma pauperis claims
that . . . are of little or no weight, value, or importance,
not worthy of serious consideration, or trivial.”
Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1083 (3d
Cir. 1995). It also has been determined that “the
frivolousness determination is a discretionary one, ”
and trial courts “are in the best position” to
determine when an indigent litigant's complaint is
appropriate for summary dismissal. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
SCI-Graterford and SCI-Frackville
United States Supreme Court has ruled that a § 1983
action brought against a “State and its Board of
Corrections is barred by the Eleventh Amendment unless [the
State] has consented to the filing of such a suit.”
Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978). The Third
Circuit similarly concluded that the Pennsylvania Board of
Probation and Parole could not be sued because “it is
not a ‘person' within the meaning of Section
1983.” Thompson v. Burke, 556 F.2d 231, 232
(3d Cir. 1977).
have also repeatedly recognized that a prison or correctional
facility is not a person for purposes of civil rights
liability. See Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992
(3d Cir. 1973); Philogene v. Adams County Prison,
Civ. No. 97-0043, slip op. at p. 4 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 30, 1997)
(Rambo, C.J.); Sponsl ...