United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell, United States District Judge.
the court is the report (Doc. 16) from Magistrate Judge
Joseph F. Saporito, Jr. recommending that Defendants'
motion (Doc. 13) to dismiss for failure to state a claim be
granted and that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed
without leave to amend. For the following reasons, the court
will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss, but will allow
Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint.
October 21, 2016, Plaintiff Robert Allen Kitchen, Sr. filed a
civil rights action based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (BPP),
Pennsylvania state parole agent Jeffrey Ruzicki (Ruzicki) in
his individual capacity, and Pennsylvania state parole agent
Douglas Schaeffer (Schaeffer) in his individual
capacity. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff amended his complaint
as a matter of right on November 4, 2016. (Doc. 8).
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Ruzicki and
Schaeffer, acting under color of state law, violated his
constitutional rights to due process and equal protection
guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. (Doc. 8 at 3). He claims that Ruzicki and
Schaeffer co-authored a Supervision History Report (SHR) in
which they intentionally falsified probation violation
information and purposefully omitted information favorable to
Plaintiff. (Id. at 5). This SHR was provided to the
trial court for use in sentencing Plaintiff for violating the
terms of his probation, and was “referred to, relied
upon, and used by the Court in deciding what sentence to
impose upon Plaintiff.” (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges that the submission of, and reliance on, this
falsified SHR resulted in a sentence of three to six years in
state prison, with a credit of 119 days for time served.
(Id.) This initial sentence was imposed on April 11,
to Plaintiff, after he received a copy of the SHR, he
embarked on a lengthy appeal process to challenge the
validity of his sentence. (Id.) On August 28, 2013,
the Superior Court of Pennsylvania vacated the April 11, 2012
sentence, and remanded the case for resentencing.
Commonwealth v. Kitchen, No. 1217 MDA 2012, 2013 WL
11256394, at *1 (Pa. Super. Ct. Aug. 28, 2013). The Superior
Court found that vacatur and remand were required because the
sentencing court failed to request a pre-sentence
investigation report (PSI), or alternatively to conduct an
appropriate colloquy explaining the reasons for not ordering
a PSI. Id. at *4.
his sentence was vacated, Plaintiff alleges that he was
eventually permitted to challenge the contents of the SHR.
(Doc. 8 at 5). He asserts that in June of 2014, a hearing was
held where “[i]t was proven . . . that the majority of
the violations contained in the report were false and
unverifiable” and “that key information showing
[his] compliance with certain conditions of parole [was]
omitted from the report.” (Id.)
September 17, 2014, Plaintiff was resentenced to a term of
two and one-half years to six years' imprisonment, with a
credit of 2, 101 days for time served, “effectively
cutting [his] sentence in half[.]” (Id.) He
was released from prison on December 17, 2014, the maximum
release date under the revised sentence. (Id.)
is suing Ruzicki and Schaeffer in their individual
capacities, seeking monetary damages totaling $750, 000,
which includes punitive damages. (Id. at 6). He is
suing the BPP for “fail[ure] to properly supervise,
train[, ] and instruct Defendants Ruzicki and
Schaeffer.” (Id. at 4).
January 13, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim. (Doc. 13). Defendants argue that
Plaintiff's § 1983 claims are barred by both
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and the
statute of limitations. (Doc. 14 at 4-8). Plaintiff failed to
respond to the motion to dismiss despite being given a
sua sponte extension until April 25, 2017, and thus
the motion was considered unopposed pursuant to Middle
District of Pennsylvania Local Rule 7.6. (Doc. 16 at 1-2).
Judge Saporito found that Plaintiff's claims were barred
by Heck v. Humphrey, and did not address
Defendants' statute of limitations argument.
(Id. at 7-11). Judge Saporito recommended that
Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed and that leave to
amend be denied because “amendment in this case would
be futile.” (Id. at 11-12). No objections to
the report and recommendation were filed.
Standard of Review
party objects to a magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, the district court must review de
novo the contested portions of the report. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C); M.D. Pa. Local Rule 72.3. Uncontested
portions of the report are reviewed for “clear error on
the face of the record.” Clouser v. Johnson,
40 F.Supp.3d 425, 430 (M.D. Pa. 2014) (quoting Cruz v.
Chater, 990 F.Supp. 375, 375-78 (M.D. Pa. 1998) (quoting
1983 Advisory Committee Notes to Federal Rule of Civil
motion to dismiss stage, Federal 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 all factual allegations as true, construe
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the
complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.”
Bronowicz v. Allegheny County, 804 F.3d 338, 344 (3d
Cir. 2015 (quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny,
515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)). In general, documents
properly considered at the motion to ...