United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Memorandum and Order entered on June 6, 2019, the Court
granted pro se Plaintiff Shamar Green leave to
proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed his
Complaint in part without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). (ECF Nos. 6, 7.) Green was also
granted leave to file an amended complaint, which he did on
June 24, 2019. (ECF No. 8.) Green, who is a prisoner confined
at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center
("PICC") has again named as Defendants the City of
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Department of Prisons
("PDP"), and Lt Horsey. For the following reasons,
the Amended Complaint ("AC") will be dismissed in
part pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Green's original Complaint, the AC is extremely brief. He
again alleges that on certain dates in February 2019, as well
as on two newly cited dates in June 2019, Defendant Horsey
threatened him with physical harm, "retaliation from the
Streets," and that Defendant PDP "refused to
separate us." (ECF No. 8 at 5.) He asserts a violation
of the Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
(id. at 3) and seeks money damages due to
"severe stress w/ not being fed the proper trays,
physical harm, mental anguish[, ] emotional distress ect
[sic]." (Id. at 5.) Green had attached to the
original Complaint nearly illegible copies of inmate
grievance forms he apparently filed regarding his alleged
interactions with Defendant Horsey.
to the AC are two additional grievances dated June 13 and 14,
2019 that are legible, and an Inmate Misconduct report dated
June 13, 2019. Two of the attachments describe an occurrence
on June 13, 2019. In a grievance, Green asserts that he was
ambushed in a cell and cut on his face before being able to
wrest a knife away from one of his assailants. One of the
assailants allegedly yelled as he ran away that "Horsey
told you don't f*** with her." (Id. at 13.)
He goes on to state that, when he came out of the cell, an
unnamed correctional officer directed him to stop but he went
back into the cell, and "put up the knife."
(Id.) The Inmate Misconduct report states that two
non-party correctional officers, McAllister and Jackson,
heard a commotion and then saw Green with blood on his face
and shirt. (Id. at 12.) He was taken to the medical
unit where he was searched, and a 7-inch homemade weapon was
discovered. (Id.) The second attached grievance
appears to assert that Green's cell in the restricted
housing unit had no bed sheets. (Id. at 14.) He
claimed that he was denied sheets due to retaliation by
Horsey. (Id.) The Complaint contains no other
information detailing how any other Defendant allegedly
violated Green's constitutional rights.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
prior Order the Court granted Green leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) requires the Court to dismiss the AC if, among
other things, it is frivolous or fails to state a claim.
Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine
whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory
allegations do not suffice. Id. As Green is
proceeding pro se, the Court construes the
allegations of the AC liberally. Higgs v. Att'y
Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011); but see
Argentina v. Gillette, No. 19-1348, 2019 WL 2538020, at
*1 (3d Cir. June 20, 2019) (holding that "liberal
construction of a pro se amended complaint does not
mean accumulating allegations from superseded
8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a
complaint to contain "a short a plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A
district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint
that does not comply with Rule 8 if "the complaint is so
confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible that
its true substance, if any, is well disguised."
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)
(quotations omitted). This Court has noted that Rule 8
"requires that pleadings provide enough information to
put a defendant on sufficient notice to prepare their defense
and also ensure that the Court is sufficiently informed to
determine the issue." Fabian v. St. Mary's Med.
Ctr., No. Civ. A. 16-4741, 2017 WL 3494219, at *3 (E.D.
Pa. Aug. 11, 2017) (quotations omitted).
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides in part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
42 U.S.C. § 1983. "To state a claim under §
1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States,
and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law." West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48(1988).
Claims Against Philadelphia
again names the City of Philadelphia as a Defendant. To plead
a basis for municipal liability under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that the municipality's policy or
custom caused the violation of his constitutional rights.
See Monell v. Dep 't of Soc. Servs. of N. Y, 436
U.S. 658, 694 (1978). "To satisfy the pleading standard,
[the plaintiff] must... specify what exactly that custom or
policy was." McTernan v. City of York, PA, 564
F.3d 636, 658 (3d Cir. 2009). '"Policy is made when
a decisionmaker possess[ing] final authority to establish
municipal policy with respect to the action issues an
official proclamation, policy, or edict.'"
Estate of Roman v. City of Newark,914 F.3d 789, 798
(3d Cir. 2019) (quoting Andrews v. City of
Philadelphia,895 F.2d 1469, 1480 (3d Cir. 1990)).
"'Custom, on the other hand, can be proven by
showing that a given course of conduct, although not
specifically endorsed or authorized by law, is so
well-settled and permanent as virtually to constitute
law."" Id. (quoting Bielevicz v.
Dubinon,915 F.2d 845, 850 (3d Cir. 1990)). A plaintiff
illustrates that a custom was the proximate cause of his