United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jones, an individual formerly housed at the Coal Township
State Correctional Institution (SCI-Coal Township), in Coal
Township, Pennsylvania, proceeds pro se in this
action concerning events that transpired while housed at that
facility. Named as defendants are SCI-Coal Township,
Jennifer Shaud, Sidiq Mansray, Superintendent McGinley and
Corrections Officer (CO) Earb. (Doc. 1.) Mr. Jones alleges
that prison officials failed to protect him from a
foreseeable assault by Sidiq Mansray, an inmate.
Jones seeks to proceed in forma pauperis in this
matter (Docs. 7 and 13), the Complaint is before the Court
for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and
1915A. For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss all
claims against SCI-Coal Township, Jennifer Shaud, Sidiq
Mansray and Superintendent McGinley pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). Mr. Jones' Eighth Amendment failure
to protect claim shall proceed only against CO Earb unless
Mr. Jones files an amended complaint.
Allegations of the Complaint
September 6, 2018, Mr. Jones resided on SCI-Coal
Township's A-A unit and the institution was on lockdown
status. (Doc. 1 at 5.) At approximately 7:45 a.m., CO Earb
let inmate Sidiq Mansray out of his cell (Id.)
Inmate Mansray “threw a bucket of boiling water
containing vasoline (sic) inside of it” on Mr. Jones.
(Id.) Mr. Jones suffered severe burns to his back,
head, and neck. Mr. Jones was transported by helicopter to
the Lehigh Valley Burn Unit where he was treated for second
degree burns over 20% of his body. Mr. Jones believes
“this was a foreseeable incident that staff at SCI-Coal
Township could have avoided from happening” because
inmate Mansray “was not supposed to be housed on the
unit with program inmates.” (Id.) Mr. Jones
states institutional security cameras recorded the assault.
Standard of Review for Screening Pro Se In Forma
Court must screen Mr. Jones' Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Court may dismiss a complaint, or any
portion thereof, if the prisoner has raised claims that are
legally frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)(1) - (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) -
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as
that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to a motion filed
under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir.
2000). Under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must “take as
true all factual allegations of the [complaint] and the
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, but [ ]
disregard legal conclusions and recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements.” Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629
F.3d 121, 128 (3d Cir. 2010) (quotation marks and citation
test in reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is whether, under any
‘plausible' reading of the pleading, the plaintiff
would be entitled to relief.” Guidotti v. Legal
Helpers Debt Resolution, L.L.C., 716 F.3d 764, 772 (3d
Cir. 2013) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 580, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).
To satisfy this standard, 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, 677, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578
F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). A complaint need only contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and “give the defendant fair
notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
“Labels and conclusions” are not enough,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65, and
a court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Id., 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (quoted case omitted).
“[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, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (citing
in the context of pro se prisoner litigation, a
district court must be mindful that a pro se
document must be liberally construed and “held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Fantone v. Latini, 780 F.3d 184
(2015) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972)). Yet, even
a pro se plaintiff “must allege sufficient
facts in their complaint[ ] to support a claim.”
Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245
(3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). Where a prisoner's
complaint is subject to dismissal, a plaintiff must be
granted leave to file a curative amended complaint even when
he does not seek leave to amend, unless amendment would be
inequitable or futile. See Estate of Lagano v. Bergen
Cty. Prosecutor's Office, 769 F.3d 850, 861 (3d Cir.
state a viable § 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. Natale v. Camden Cty. Corr.
Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 580-81 (3d Cir. 2003). Moreover,
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); see also Chavarria v.
N.J. Dep't of Corr., 806 F.3d 210, 222 (3d Cir.
“persons” are subject to suit under Section 1983,
and entities such as state prisons do not qualify as
“persons”. Will v. Michigan Dept. of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 65, 109 S.Ct. 2304, 2309, 105
L.Ed.2d 45 (1989); Edwards v. Northampton Cty., 663
Fed.Appx. 132, 136 (3d Cir. 2016) (prison is not a
“person” subject to suit under § 1983).
Because SCI-Coal Township is ...