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Covert v. Commonwealth

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 5, 2018

DONTA COVERT, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          EDWARD G. SMITH, J.

         The pro se prisoner plaintiff has applied to proceed in forma pauperis in this purported action against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Although the court will grant the plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court must dismiss the complaint because (1) it consists of vague and disjointed allegations and, as such, does not comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, (2) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, (3) Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994) bars the plaintiff's claims to the extent that he is seeking to invalidate any underlying conviction or sentence, and (4) it appears that the two-year statute of limitations applicable to actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 bars his claims. While it is possible that allowing the plaintiff to file an amended complaint could fix some of the aforementioned deficiencies, he cannot avoid the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Eleventh Amendment immunity through amendment. Accordingly, the court will dismiss the complaint, but will not provide the plaintiff with leave to file an amended complaint because doing so would be futile.

         I. ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The pro se plaintiff, Donta Covert (“Covert”), filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (the “IFP Application”), a prison account statement, and a proposed complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on February 17, 2018 (Doc. Nos. 1, 2).[1] Covert failed to file a certified copy of his prisoner account statement for the entire six-month period prior to the filing of this civil action on February 17, 2018, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); as such, the court entered an order on February 28, 2018, which (1) denied the IFP Application without prejudice, and (2) directed Covert, within 30 days of the date of this order, to either (a) file a certified copy of his prisoner account statement showing a balance and all activity for the six-month period from August 5, 2017, through February 8, 2018, or (b) remitting the $350.00 filing fee and $50.00 administrative fee to the clerk of court.[2] See Order at 1-2, Doc. No. 3. The clerk of court docketed a prisoner account statement from Covert, which substantially complied with the court's order. Doc. No. 4.

         In the complaint, Covert alleges the following facts: “Notice incomplete disposition on secure 9-1-94 court summary date 9-1-94.” See Compl. at 3. His purported injuries are: “Powerful impact to court transcripts.” Id. For his requested relief, Covert seeks:

Investigate claim negociate [sic] settlement request 20, 000 monetary. Post For exhibit other claims ultimely [sic] reason expsonge [sic], consent move gudge [sic] favor Maid Name.
I notice exercise material could result inaccurate. Fraud beneficiary act in behalf unaware of. Enable discharge claim.
Consider exhibit secure docket court summary examine by gudge [sic].

Id. at 5-6.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. The IFP Application

         Regarding applications to proceed in forma pauperis,

any court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner ...

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