United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
William I. Arbuckle, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
INTRODUCTION AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
December 21, 2018, Plaintiff Holly Ivanitch initiated this
pro se civil rights action against the following
Defendant: Toys R' Us (Doc. 1). On December 28, 2018,
this Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in
forma pauperis. (Doc. 5). This Court screened
Plaintiff's original Complaint pursuant 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e) and found deficiencies. Id. This Court
granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint to
correct the deficiencies. Id. On January 31, 3019,
Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against Toys R' Us.
STANDARD OF REVIEW FOR SCREENING IN FORMA PAUPERIS
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
Plaintiff is subject to the screening provisions in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e). See Atamian v. Burns, 236 Fed.Appx.
753, 755 (3d Cir. 2007) (“the screening procedures set
forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) apply to in forma
pauperis complaints filed by prisoners and non-prisoners
alike”). Under this statute, the Court is required to
dismiss any action that is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Collins v.
Cundy, 603 F.2d 825, 828 (10th Cir. 1979)
(“[T]here is no constitutional right to the expenditure
of public funds and the valuable time of federal courts to
prosecute an action which is totally without merit.”).
performing this mandatory screening function, the Court
applies the same standard that is used to evaluate motions to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, which provides that a complaint should be
dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
observed the evolving standards governing pleading practice
in the federal courts, stating that “pleading standards
have seemingly shifted from simple notice pleading to a more
heightened form of pleading, requiring a plaintiff to plead
more than the possibility of relief to survive a motion to
dismiss.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 209-10 (3d Cir. 2009). “[A] complaint must do more
than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief.”
Id. at 211. It also “has to ‘show'
such an entitlement with its facts.” Id.
the sufficiency of the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), the
court must conduct the following three-step inquiry:
First, the court must “tak[e] note of the elements a
plaintiff must plead to state a claim.” Iqbal,
129 S.Ct. at 1947. Second, the court should identify
allegations that, “because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Id. at 1950. Finally, “where
there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.”
Santiago v. Warminster Tp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d
complaint filed by a pro se litigant is to be
liberally construed and ‘“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 v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Nevertheless,
“pro se litigants still must allege sufficient
facts in their complaints to support a claim.” Mala
v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir.
addition to these pleading standards, a civil complaint must
comply with the requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that:
(a) A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has
jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional
support; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for
the relief sought, which may include relief in the
alternative or different types of relief.
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere legal
labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Rather, a pro
se complaint must recite factual allegations that are
sufficient to raise the Plaintiff's claimed ...