United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann, United States District Judge
Mutschler an inmate presently confined at the State
Correctional Institution, Coal Township, Pennsylvania
(SCI-Coal Twp.) filed this pro se civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As a result of
prior Memoranda and Orders entered in this matter, the claims
against Defendants Captain Downs, Superintendent Tritt, and
Deputy Superintendent Miller were dismissed.
Defendants are Correctional Officer Kevin Corby and two John
Doe Defendants who are all employed at Plaintiff's prior
place of incarceration the State Correctional Institution,
Frackville, Pennsylvania (SCI-Frackville).
contends that Defendant Corby subjected him to an unwarranted
use of excessive force in the SCI-Frackville Restricted
Housing Unit (RHU) during the evening of July 28, 2014. It is
alleged that following a verbal exchange Corby grabbed the
Plaintiff by the neck and shoved him backward against the
wall of a shower stall. As a result of hitting his head
against the wall, Mutschler claims that he was rendered
unconscious, fell to the floor, and suffered a mild seizure.
See Doc. 1, p. 3. It is further asserted that a
second official, Lieutenant John Doe, failed to intervene and
that Correctional Officer John Doe had minor involvement in
pending is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Corby.
See Doc. 25. The opposed motion is now ripe for
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. 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.
plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a
plausible right to relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(stating that the complaint should include “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief”); Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This requirement
“calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” the
necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action.
Id. at 556. A complaint must contain “more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do
not suffice.” Id. Legal conclusions must be
supported by factual allegations and the complaint must state
a plausible claim for relief. See Id. at 679.
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).” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The
reviewing court must determine whether the complaint
“contain[s] either direct or inferential allegations
respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain
recovery under some viable legal theory.” Id.
at 562; see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny,
515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)(in order to survive a motion
to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege in his complaint
“enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary
element[s]” of a particular cause of action). Finally,
pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally,
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
John Doe Defendants
initial argument for dismissal asserts that the John Doe
Defendants named in the Complaint should be dismissed as they
have not been identified and the time period for so doing has
expired. See Doc. 26, p.4.
Doe defendants may only be allowed “to stand in for the
alleged real parties until discovery permits the intended
defendants to be installed.” Johnson v. City of
Erie, 834 F.Supp. 873, 878 (W.D. Pa. 1993) (citations
omitted). Absent compelling reasons, a district court may
dismiss such defendants if a plaintiff, after being granted a
reasonable period of discovery, fails to identify them.
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