United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Bissoon, District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Maureen P. Kelly United States Magistrate Judge
reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended that,
pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e), the Complaint be dismissed before being served
because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
Leroy Davis (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, has
been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) to pursue a civil rights action against
the Honorable Kelly Bigley (“Judge Bigley”), a
judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. ECF
No. 2. The form Complaint for a Civil Case (the
“Complaint”) is not a model of clarity. However,
it is clear that because Plaintiff seeks to sue Judge Bigley
for actions that she took in her judicial capacity, Judge
Bigley is entitled to absolute judicial immunity.
Accordingly, the Complaint should be dismissed before being
served because it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.
Pre-service dismissals of Complaints proceeding IFP.
Plaintiff has been granted IFP status, ECF No. 2, the
screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §1915(e) apply to his
Complaint. See Atamian v. Burns, 236 Fed.Appx. 753,
755 (3d Cir. 2007) (“the screening procedures set forth
in § 1915(e) apply to in forma pauperis
complaints filed by prisoners and non-prisoners alike”)
(citations omitted); 28 U.S.C. §1915(e) (“the
court shall dismiss the case [of a plaintiff granted IFP
status] 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; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.”). In performing the Court's mandated
function of sua sponte review of complaints under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e), to determine if the complaint fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted, a federal district
court applies the same standard applied to motions to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See,
e.g., Brodzki v. Tribune Co., 481 Fed.Appx.
705 (3d Cir. 2012) (applying Rule 12(b)(6) standard to claim
dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)).
United States Supreme Court explained in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), a complaint may
properly be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(6) if
it does not allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at
570 (rejecting the traditional 12 (b)(6) standard set forth
in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).
Under this standard, the court must, as a general rule,
accept as true all factual allegations of the complaint and
all reasonable inferences must be viewed in the light most
favorable to plaintiff. Angelastro v. Prudential-Bache
Securities, Inc., 764 F.2d 939, 944 (3d Cir. 1985). In
addition to the complaint, courts may consider matters of
public record and other matters of which a court may take
judicial notice, court orders, and exhibits attached to the
complaint when adjudicating a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6). Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran &
Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1385 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994),
abrogation on other grounds recognized in,
Rotkiske v. Klemm, 890 F.3d 422, 428 (3d Cir. 2018),
cert. granted, 18-328, 2019 WL 886893 (U.S. Feb. 25,
2019). Moreover, under the 12(b)(6) standard, a “court
need not . . . accept as true allegations that contradict
matters properly subject to judicial notice or by
exhibit.” Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors,
266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001), amended
by, 275 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir. 2001). The court
need not accept inferences drawn by plaintiff if they are
unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint.
See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb
Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing
Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902,
906 (3d Cir. 1997)). Nor must the court accept legal
conclusions set forth as factual allegations.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
question to be resolved is: whether, taking the factual
allegations of the complaint, which are not contradicted by
the exhibits and matters of which judicial notice may be had,
and taking all reasonable inferences to be drawn from those
uncontradicted factual allegations of the complaint, are the
“factual allegations . . . enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that
all the allegations in the complaint are true even if
doubtful in fact[.]” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Or put another way, a complaint may be dismissed pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Id. at 570.
because Plaintiff is pro se, courts accord an even more
liberal reading of the complaint, employing less stringent
standards when considering pro se pleadings than when judging
the work product of an attorney. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519 (1972).