United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Kane, District Judge
the Court is pro se Plaintiff Rayti Myers'
complaint filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. No.
1), motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
and supplement (Doc. Nos. 2, 8), and motions for a temporary
restraining order and for a preliminary injunction. (Doc.
Nos. 4, 5). Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of
1995 (“PLRA”), the Court will perform its
mandatory screening of the complaint.
is currently confined at the State Correctional Institution
Rockview, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
(“SCI-Rockview”). Plaintiff alleges that he has
two pair of Timberland boots that he purchased through the
prison's commissary at $92.50 a pair. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.)
On March 26, 2018, Plaintiff alleges that he received a
mandate from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(“DOC”), indicating that all prisoners'
Timberland boots will be confiscated by May II, 2018, and
that prisoners will not receive reimbursement for this
projected taking of their personal property. (Doc. Nos. 1, 4,
5.) On April 3, 2018, Plaintiff claims that the DOC issued a
revised memorandum informing prisoners that they could mail
their Timberland boots to someone outside prison or could
donate them but no refund would be issued. (Doc. No. 1 at 2.)
April 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a grievance requesting
reimbursement for his Timberland boots. (Id. at 11.)
On April 13, 2018, Plaintiff received a response to his
grievance which indicated that he would not be reimbursed for
his Timberland boots. (Id. at 2, 11.) Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants should not be allowed to take his
property without compensation. (Id. at 1-3.) Named
as Defendants are the DOC and the Timberland Boot Company.
(Id. at 1, 3.) Plaintiff also seeks an injunction to
prohibit Defendants from taking his boots. (Doc. Nos. 4, 5.)
Screening of Plaintiff's Complaint
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, federal district courts must
“review . . . a complaint in a civil action in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer
or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). If a complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, the court must dismiss the complaint.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). District courts have a similar
screening obligation with respect to actions filed by
prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis and prisoners
challenging prison conditions. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) (“[T]he 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 . . . .”); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1)
(“The Court shall on its own motion or on the motion of
a party dismiss any action brought with respect to prison
conditions under section 1983 of this title . . . by a
prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional
facility if the court is satisfied that the action . . .
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
dismissing claims under §§ 1915(e), 1915A, and
1997e, district courts apply the standard governing motions
to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. See, e.g., Smithson v.
Koons, Civ. No. 15-01757, 2017 WL 3016165, at *3 (M.D.
Pa. June 26, 2017) (“The legal standard for dismissing
a complaint for failure to state a claim under §
1915A(b)(1), § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), or § 1997e(c)(1)
is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure.”); Mitchell v. Dodrill, 696
F.Supp.2d 454, 471 (M.D. Pa. 2010) (explaining that when
dismissing a complaint pursuant to § 1915A, “a
court employs the motion to dismiss standard set forth under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)”). To avoid
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), a civil complaint must set out
“sufficient factual matter” to show that its
claims are facially plausible. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). The
plausibility standard requires more than a mere possibility
that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct:
“[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.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). When evaluating the plausibility of a complaint,
the court accepts as true all factual allegations and all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those
allegations, viewed in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; In re
Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig., 618 F.3d 300, 314 (3d
Cir. 2010). However, the court must not accept legal
conclusions as true, and “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” will not survive a
motion to dismiss. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
on this standard, the United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit has identified the following steps that a
district court must take when reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion: (1) identify the elements that a plaintiff must plead
to state a claim; (2) identify any conclusory allegations
contained in the complaint that are “not
entitled” to the assumption of truth; and (3) determine
whether any “well-pleaded factual allegations”
contained in the complaint “plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.” See Santiago v. Warminster
Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010). In addition, in
the context of pro se prisoner litigation
specifically, a district court must be mindful that a
document filed pro se is “to be liberally
construed.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
106 (1976). A pro se complaint, “however
inartfully pleaded, ” must be held to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quoting Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Civil Rights Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983
order to state a viable claim under § 1983, a plaintiff
must plead (1) that the conduct complained of was committed
by a person acting under color of state law, and (2) that
said conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or
immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States. Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628,
638 (3d Cir. 1995); Shaw by Strain v. Strackhouse,
920 F.2d 1135, 1141-42 (3d Cir. 1990); Richardson v. Min
Sec Cos., No. 3:cv-08-1312, 2008 WL 5412866, at *1 (M.D.
Pa. Dec. 29, 2008).
in order for a § 1983 claim to survive a motion to
dismiss, the plaintiff must sufficiently allege that the
defendant was personally involved in the act or acts that the
plaintiff claims violated his rights. Rode v.
Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1988);
Solan v. Ranck, 326 Fed.Appx. 97, 100 (3d Cir.
2009). Therefore, supervisors cannot be liable under §
1983 on the traditional standard of respondeat
superior. Santiago, 629 F.3d at 128. Instead,
there are two theories of supervisory liability that are
applicable to § 1983 claims: (1) “a supervisor may
be personally liable under § 1983 if he or she
participated in violating the plaintiff's rights,
directed others to violate them, or, as the person in charge,
had knowledge of and acquiesced in his subordinates'
violations”; and (2) policymakers may also be liable
under § 1983 “if it is shown that such defendants,
‘with deliberate indifference to the consequences,
established and maintained a policy, practice or custom which
directly caused [the] constitutional harm.'”
A.M. ex rel. J.M.K. v. Luzerne Cty. Juvenile Det.
Ctr., 372 F.3d 572, 586 (3d Cir. 2004).