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Brown v. May

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 12, 2018

KYLIEFF BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN MAY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          GERALD J. PAPPERT, J.

         Plaintiff Kylieff Brown, a pro se inmate, asserts a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility Warden May, Majors Abello and Thompson, Captain Beaufort, Lieutenants Sprango and Pope, Sargent Roney, and Corrections Officers Baines, Percy, T. Jones and N. Brown for allegedly labeling Brown a “snitch” and failing to protect him from other inmates.[1] May, Abello, Beaufort and Sprango move to dismiss the claim asserted against them.[2] The Court grants the Motion but will allow Brown to file an amended complaint.

         I[3]

         A

         Brown is an inmate currently serving a sentence at SCI-Dallas. (Compl. at 1, ECF No. 6.) He claims that while incarcerated at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, he was forced to tell May, Abello and Sprango about corrections officers bringing contraband into the prison. (Id. at 3.) He also claims that after telling them this, he was threatened and retaliated against by Sargent Roney and Corrections Officers Baines, Percy, T. Jones and N. Brown. (Id.) Specifically, he alleges they threatened to have him killed and told other inmates that he was a “snitch.” (Id.)

         As a result of being labeled a “snitch, ” Brown alleges that he was physically assaulted and stabbed by other inmates at Curran-Fromhold, and that he suffered mental and verbal abuse. (Id.) He claims that due to the abuse he suffered, he required psychological treatment and medication. (Id.) Brown sent grievances to May and Abello informing them of the abuse he was suffering, but claims that his grievances were ignored. (Id. at 4.)

         B

         Because Brown filed his complaint pro se, the Court “must liberally construe his pleadings.” Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). “Courts are to construe complaints so ‘as to do substantial justice, ' keeping in mind that pro se complaints in particular should be construed liberally.” Bush v. City of Phila., 367 F.Supp. 722, 725 (E.D. Pa. 2005) (quoting Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 234 (3d Cir. 2004)). Moreover, in a § 1983 action, the Court must “apply the applicable law, irrespective of whether a pro se litigant has mentioned it by name.” Higgins v. Beyer, 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Holley v. Dep't of Veteran Affairs, 165 F.3d 244, 247-48 (3d Cir. 1999)); see also Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996) (“Since this is a § 1983 action, the [pro se] plaintiffs are entitled to relief if their complaint sufficiently alleges deprivation of any right secured by the Constitution.” (citation omitted)).

         May, Abello, Beaufort and Sprango move to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), contending that Brown has not sufficiently alleged their personal involvement in any constitutional violation. (Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 11.) Brown has not responded to the Motion. Consistent with the Third Circuit's policy “which favors disposition of litigation on its merits[, ]” Marshall v. Sielaft, 492 F.2d 917, 918 (3d Cir. 1974) (citation omitted), and instructs that a complaint should not be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) “solely on the basis of [a] local rule without any analysis of whether the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, ” Stackhouse v. Mazurkiewicz, 951 F.2d 29, 30 (3d Cir. 1991), the Court will analyze the merits of the Motion.

         II

         A

         To survive dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible when the facts pled “allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference that [a] defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         Twombly and Iqbal require the Court to take three steps to determine whether a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss. See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016). First, it must “take note of the elements the plaintiff must plead to state a claim.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675). Next, it must identify the allegations that are no more than legal conclusions and thus “not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Finally, where the complaint includes well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court “should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).

         This “presumption of truth attaches only to those allegations for which there is sufficient factual matter to render them plausible on their face.” Schuchardt v. President of the U.S., 839 F.3d 336, 347 (3d Cir. 2016) (internal quotation and citation omitted). “Conclusory assertions of fact and legal conclusions are not entitled to the same presumption.” Id. This plausibility determination is a “context-specific task that requires ...


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