United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
WILLIAM I. ARBUCKLE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
April 10, 2018, Plaintiff Edward Thomas Kennedy
(“Plaintiff”) initiated this pro se
civil action by filing a Complaint. (Doc. 1). On June 14,
2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint-the operative
complaint in this case. (Doc. 9). In his Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff names the following eleven (11) Defendants: Robert
Evanchick; Bradley J. Getz; Tyree C. Blocker; Richard H.
D'Ambrosia; Pennsylvania State Police; Leslie S.
Richards; Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; Gregory
D. Johnson; Thomas G. Saylor; Joshua David Shapiro; and the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 9).
has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
(Doc. 17). Because he is proceeding 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.”).
reviewing Plaintiff's Complaint, I conclude that it fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and that
granting further leave to amend would be both futile and
inequitable given that Plaintiff is already litigating claims
relating to the events that transpired on June 2, 2017, and
August 28, 2017 through August 30, 2017-albeit asserted
against different defendants-in the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania. Accordingly, IT IS RECOMMENDED that
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 9) be DISMISSED
without further leave to amend, and without prejudice to
pursuing claims related to the events that took place on June
2, 2017, and August 28, 2017 through August 30, 2017 in his
Eastern District Case, Kennedy v. Hanna,
5:18-CV-0977 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 23, 2018).
LEGAL STANDARD FOR SCREENING COMPLAINTS FILED BY LITIGANTS
PROCEEDING IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Court has a statutory obligation to conduct a preliminary
review of pro se complaints brought by
litigants given leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Specifically, the Court is obliged to review the complaint in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides,
in pertinent part:
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof,
that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at
any time if the court determines that -
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal--
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
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.”
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. 2013).
Thus, a well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere
legal labels and conclusions. Rather, a pro se
complaint must recite factual allegations that are ...