United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Carroll, an inmate confined in the State Correctional
Institution, Waymart, Pennsylvania, filed the above-captioned
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983.
(Doc. 1). The named Defendants are the Pennsylvania Board of
Probation and Parole and twenty-two current and former
members of the Board. Id. Although Plaintiff's
complaint is comprised of a twelve page rambling stream of
consciousness, the potentially identifiable claims set forth
in the complaint indicate that Plaintiff is attacking the
duration of his current confinement, as well as challenging
the Board's denial of parole. Id. For relief, in
addition to release, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as declaratory relief and
injunctive relief. Id.
before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss, filed
on April 23, 2018. (Doc. 23). Although the Plaintiff
has had more than ample time to file a brief in opposition to
Defendants' motion, he has failed to oppose the motion.
As such, the Court will grant Defendants' motion as
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must “accept
all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine
whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the
plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Fowler v.
UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)
(quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008)). While a complaint need only contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and detailed factual
allegations are not required, Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a complaint must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a mere
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[L]abels and
conclusions” are not enough, Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555, and a court “is not bound to accept as true a
legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Id. (quoted case omitted). Thus, “a judicial
conspiracy claim must include at least a discernible factual
basis to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal.”
Capogrosso v. The Supreme Court of New Jersey, 588
F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2009) (per curiam).
resolving the motion to dismiss, we thus “conduct a
two-part analysis.” Fowler, supra, 578 F.3d at
210. First, we separate the factual elements from the legal
elements and disregard the legal conclusions. Id. at
210-11. Second, we “determine whether the facts alleged
in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff
has a “plausible claim for relief”. Id.
at 211 (quoted case omitted).
addition, because Plaintiff complains about “prison
conditions, ” the screening provisions of 42 U.S.C.
§1997e apply, as do the screening provisions of 28
U.S.C. §1915(e), given that he was granted in forma
pauperis status to pursue this suit. The court's
obligation to dismiss a complaint under the PLRA screening
provisions for complaints that fail to state a claim is not
excused even after defendants have filed a motion to dismiss.
See, e.g., Lopez v. Smith, 203
F.3d 1122, 1126 n. 6 (9th Cir. 2000). Hence, if there is a
ground for dismissal which was not relied upon by a defendant
in a motion to dismiss, the court may nonetheless sua
sponte rest its dismissal upon such ground pursuant to
the screening provisions of the PLRA. See Lopez;
Dare v. U.S., Civil No. 06-115E, 2007 WL 1811198, at
*4 (W.D. Pa. June 21, 2007), aff'd, 264 Fed App'x.
183 (3d Cir. 2008).
order to state a viable section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must
plead two essential elements: (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).
“To establish liability for deprivation of a
constitutional right under §1983, a party must show
personal involvement by each defendant.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676-77 (2009) (“Because
vicarious liability is inapplicable to Bivens and
§1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official's own
individual actions, has violated the Constitution.”));
see Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130
(3d Cir. 2010).
respect to Plaintiff's request for a parole hearing or to
be released from confinement, it is well-settled that
prisoners cannot use §1983 to challenge the fact or
duration of their confinement or to seek immediate or
speedier release. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475
(1973). Although a writ of habeas corpus is not explicitly
raised in Plaintiff's filings, to the extent that Carroll
seeks release, a person in state custody may file an
application for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the fact
or length of his confinement under section 2254. 28 U.S.C.
§2254. “Congress has determined that habeas corpus
is the appropriate remedy for state prisoners attacking the
validity of the fact or length of their confinement, and that
specific determination must override the general terms of
§1983.” Preiser, 411 U.S. at 499
(determining that challenges to the fact or duration of
physical confinement, or seeking an immediate or speedier
release from that confinement is the heart of habeas corpus);
Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir. 2002)
(holding, “when the challenge is to a condition of
confinement such that a finding in plaintiff's favor
would not alter his sentence or undo his conviction, an
action under §1983 is appropriate”). Consequently,
to the extent Plaintiff is seeking habeas relief pursuant to
section 2254, his complaint will be dismissed without
with respect to Plaintiff's request for compensation for
illegal confinement, the United States Supreme Court ruled
that a constitutional cause of action for damages does not
accrue “for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid,
” until the plaintiff proves that the “conviction
or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus.” Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477
(1994). “The complaint must be dismissed unless the
plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has
already been invalidated.” Id.
there is no indication of record that there has been a
successful prior adjudication pertaining to Plaintiff's
alleged unlawful conviction or sentence, it is appropriate to
dismiss the claim for damages. Plaintiff cannot, under
Heck, maintain a cause of unlawful imprisonment
until the basis for that imprisonment is rendered invalid.
See also Gilles v. Davis,427 F.3d 197, 210 (3d Cir.
2005) (holding that the favorable termination rule of
Heck, under which a state inmate must secure a
determination of invalidity of his conviction or sentence
before seeking §1983 damages for unconstitutional
conviction or confinement, applies to suits by prisoners who
no longer are ...