United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights
action. Before the court are plaintiff's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis and plaintiff's complaint for
screening. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds
that venue is appropriate in the Middle District of
Pennsylvania and will order the case transferred there. The
court declines to rule on plaintiff's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis.
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or
portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are
legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) & (2).
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The
critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however
inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis.
See Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227. Rule 8(a)(2) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “requires only
‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to
‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
in order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim a
complaint must contain more than “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action;” it
must contain factual allegations sufficient “to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell
Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. In reviewing a complaint
under this standard, the court must accept as true the
allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg.
Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976),
construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's
favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421
plaintiff is a federal prisoner, his civil rights claims
arise under Bivens vs. Six Unknown Agents, 403 U.S.
388 (1971). A Bivens action is the federal analog to
suits brought against state officials under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250 (2006). The
basis of a Bivens action is some illegal or
inappropriate conduct on the part of a federal official or
agent that violates a clearly established constitutional
right. Baiser v. Department of Justice, Office of U.S.
Trustee, 327 F.3d 903, 909 (9th Cir. 2003). “To
state a claim for relief under Bivens, a plaintiff
must allege that a federal officer deprived him of his
constitutional rights.” Serra v. Lappin, 600
F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Shwarz v. United
States, 234 F.3d 428, 432 (9th Cir. 2000)). A
Bivens claim is only available against officers in
their individual capacities. Morgan v. United
States, 323 F.3d 776, 780 n.3 (9th Cir. 2003);
Vaccaro v. Dobre, 81 F.3d 854, 857 (9th Cir. 1996).
“A plaintiff must plead more than a merely negligent
act by a federal official in order to state a colorable claim
under Bivens.” O'Neal v. Eu, 866
F.2d 314, 314 (9th Cir. 1988).
to state a claim under Bivens, a plaintiff must
establish a link between his injury and the actions of each
defendant. Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant
personally participated in the deprivation of his rights.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); see
Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir.
2009). A defendant cannot be held liable solely on the basis
of supervisory responsibility or position. See Terrell v.
Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1018 (9th Cir. 1991) (respondeat
superior theory of liability inapplicable to Bivens
Allegations of the Complaint
not clear just what conduct is the subject of plaintiff's
complaint. Plaintiff states that he was sentenced in April
2016 in this court to a term of 67 months. (Comp. (ECF No. 1)
at 2.) He was then taken into custody by the Bureau of
Prisons and transferred from the Sacramento County Jail to
federal custody in Pahrump, Nevada. (Id.) Apparently
plaintiff's personal property - consisting of several
items of clothing - was taken from him before or during this
transfer. Plaintiff appears to be seeking either to have that
property returned, damages for its loss, or compensation for
returning it. (Id. at 2, 4.)
plaintiff was transferred to the United States Penitentiary
at Canaan, Pennsylvania (“USP Canaan”).
(Id.) Plaintiff states that he was mis-classified
and should have been transferred to a medium security
facility. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff then seems to be
alleging that he was placed in unsafe situations while at USP
Canaan and was threatened by staff. (Id. at 3-4.) He
states that he is filing this suit “for los[s] of
liberty, grief, mortification, stress, humiliation, pain and
suffering, breach of security, and emotional trauma, loss of
properties.” (Id. at 5.)
identifies only USP Canaan and, it appears, some employees
there as defendants. (See id.)
Venue is not ...