United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Brett Michael Trageser ("Trageser" or
"Plaintiff), an inmate presently incarcerated at the
Franklin County Jail, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, commenced
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on
April 4, 2018. (Doc. 1). Named as Defendants are Jennifer
Stanley ("Stanley") and the Franklin County Prison.
seeks to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 6). For
the reasons set forth below, the complaint against the
Franklin County Prison will be dismissed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The matter will proceed as to
Standard of Review
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), which pertains to in forma
pauperis proceedings states, in pertinent part,
"the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the
court determines that.. .the action or appeal.. .fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The applicable standard of review
for is the same as the standard for a motion pursuant to
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which
provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, a court should
not inquire "whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail
but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to
support the claims." Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416
U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 66
(3d Cir. 1996). The court must accept as true the factual
allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable
inferences from them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Phillips v. Cntv of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008)). A district court ruling on a motion
to dismiss may consider the facts alleged on the face of the
complaint, as well as "documents incorporated into the
complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take
judicial notice." Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues
& Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007).
"the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the
allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal. 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice."). Under the pleading regime established by
[Bell Atl. Corp. v.] Twombly, 550 U.S. 544
(2007) and Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency
of a complaint must take three steps. First, it must
"tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead
to state a claim." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 129
S.Ct. 1937. Second, it should identify allegations that,
"because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth." Id., at 679, 129
S.Ct. 1937. See also Burtch v. Milberg Factors,
Inc., 662 F.3d 212, 224 (3d Cir. 2011) ("Mere
restatements of the elements of a claim are not entitled to
the assumption of truth." (citation and editorial marks
omitted)). Finally, "[w]hen there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, [the] court should assume their veracity
and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief." Iqbal 556 U.S. at 679,
129 S.Ct. 1937. Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809
F.3d 780, 787-88 (3d Cir. 2016) (internal citations,
quotations and footnote omitted). Elements are sufficiently
alleged when the facts in the complaint "show" that
the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679 (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2)). At the second step,
the Court identities those allegations that, being merely
conclusory, are not entitled to the presumption of truth.
Twombly and Iqbal distinguish between legal
conclusions, which are discounted in the analysis, and
allegations of historical fact, which are assumed to be true
even if "unrealistic or nonsensical, "
"chimerical, " or "extravagantly
fanciful." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681. Deciding
whether a claim is plausible is a "context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense." Id.
Allegations of the complaint
alleges that in "late Maye [sic] or early June
2017" Defendant Stanley, a correctional officer at the
Franklin County Prison, began conversing with him and playing
with his hair, in exchange for various goods. (Doc. 1, pp. 3,
5). On one evening, she entered his cell, got him "high
off the marijuana" and sexually assaulted him.
(Id. at 5). He states that he feels that the jail
handled the matter "with negligence."
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private
citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by
state officials. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
Id; see also Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S.
273, 284-85 (2002); Kneipp v. Tedder. 95 F.3d 1199,
1204 (3d Cir. 1996). To state a claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege "the violation of a right secured
by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must
show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person
acting under color of state law." West v.
Atkins. 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Thus, § 1983 limits
liability to persons who violate constitutional rights.
well-settled that neither a state nor its agencies, are
considered a "person" as that term is defined under
§ 1983 and, therefore, are not subject to a § 1983
suit. Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25-27 (1991).
Similarly, neither a prison nor a department within a prison
is a person subject to suit under § 1983. Fischer v.
Cahill. 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973). Franklin
County Prison is not a person capable of being sued within
the meaning of § 1983. Se ...