United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAROLINE MEHALCHICK, United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is the complaint of pro se
Plaintiff, Nygea Williams (hereinafter referred to as
“Williams”), filed on May 2, 2016. (Doc.
1). In addition to her complaint, Williams also filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc.
2), which was granted by separate Order of this Court on
September 22, 2017. (Doc. 19). Now having conducted
its statutory screening review of the complaint, the Court
respectfully recommends that the complaint be DISMISSED
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Background and Procedural History
initiated the instant action by filing a complaint (Doc.
1), a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc.
2), and a motion for preliminary injunction (Doc.
3) on May 2, 2016. This Court has previously addressed
Williams's motion for preliminary injunction, which
sought to reinstate a revoked vendor's license that had
been granted to Williams under the Randolph-Sheppard
(Doc. 3). Specifically, on November 18, 2016, the
undersigned United States Federal Magistrate Judge issued a
Report and Recommendation that recommended Williams's
motion for preliminary injunction be denied. (Doc.
8). After Williams failed to file any timely objections,
the District Court adopted the Report and Recommendation on
January 10, 2017. (Doc. 16). The undersigned
subsequently considered and granted Williams's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis on September 22, 2017.
(Doc. 2; Doc. 19).
what can be gleaned from the complaint, presently before the
Court pursuant to its statutorily-mandated screening
obligation, Williams asserts violations against various
Defendants under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, the Americans
with Disabilities Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Doc. 1, at 1). The complaint also appears to
request that counsel be appointed for Williams, and that said
counsel be permitted to file an amended complaint at a later
time. (Doc. 1, at 3). On May 27, 2016, however,
pro bono counsel, Carol T. Herring (“Attorney
Herring”), entered an appearance on behalf of Williams
and indicated that she intended to redraft the complaint.
(Doc. 5, at 2). In light of this statement, on
September 22, 2017 the Court issued an Order to Show Cause as
to why an amended complaint had not yet been filed. (Doc.
19). The Order further directed that Williams file an
amended complaint by Friday, October 20, 2017, or have the
matter proceed on the original complaint. (Doc. 19).
October 18, 2017, instead of an amended complaint, the Court
received a motion to file under seal and hold Williams's
case in abeyance pending the exhaustion of administrative
remedies. (Doc. 20; Doc. 21). The motion further
indicated that Attorney Herring would be unable to file an
amended complaint on Williams's behalf, as previously
represented, and requested for her to be withdrawn as the
attorney of record. (Doc. 21, at 3). On March 6, 2018, this
Court ultimately denied Williams's motion to file under
seal and hold the case in abeyance (Doc. 20; Doc.
21), but granted the motion for Attorney Herring to withdraw
as Williams's counsel. (Doc. 22, at 4).
Accordingly, the Court again granted leave for Williams to
file an amended complaint by Tuesday, March 27, 2018, and
advised for a second time that her action would proceed on
the original complaint if no amendment was filed. (Doc.
22, at 4).
date, the Court has not received an amended complaint in the
above-captioned matter. Thus, the complaint in its original
form (Doc. 1) is now before the Court pursuant to
its statutorily-authorized screening review under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court may review
the complaint of a plaintiff proceeding in forma
pauperis prior to service of process. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court must dismiss
the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)(1); Mitchell v. Dodrill, 696
F.Supp.2d 454, 471 (M.D. Pa. 2010); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). In
performing this screening function, a district court applies
the same standard applied to motions to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d
236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999). Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes a defendant to move
to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has also
noted the evolving standards governing pleading practice in
federal court, stating that:
[s]tandards of pleading have been in the forefront of
jurisprudence in recent years. Beginning with the Supreme
Court's opinion in Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), continuing with our
opinion in Phillips [v. County of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224 (3d Cir. 2008)] and culminating recently with the
Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662 (2009), pleading standards have seemingly
shifted from simple notice pleading to a more heightened form
of pleading, requiring a plaintiff to plead more than the
possibility of relief to survive a motion to dismiss.
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 209-10 (3d
considering whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, the court must accept as true
all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable
inferences that can be drawn therefrom are to be construed in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Jordan v. Fox,
Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel,20 F.3d 1250,
1261 (3d Cir. 1994). A court “need not credit a
complaint's ‘bald assertions' or ‘legal
conclusions' when deciding a motion to dismiss.”
Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist.,132 F.3d 902, 906
(3d Cir. 1997). Additionally, a court need not assume that a