United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JONATHAN A. BROWNLEE, III, Plaintiff
SGT. KENNETH LENNING, Defendant
se Plaintiff Jonathan A. Brownlee, III
(“Plaintiff”), who is currently incarcerated at
the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in Bruceton Mills,
West Virginia (“USP Hazelton”), initiated the
above-captioned action on June 29, 2018 by filing a complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Presently before the Court
is Plaintiff's motion requesting production of documents
(Doc. No. 64), Plaintiff's second amended complaint (Doc.
No. 66), Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a third
amended complaint (Doc. No. 67), Defendant Sgt. Kenneth
Lenning (“Lenning”)'s motion to strike (Doc.
No. 68) Plaintiff's motion requesting production of
documents, Defendant Lenning's motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's second amended complaint (Doc. No. 70),
Plaintiff's motion requesting that the Court hold
Defendant Lenning in contempt (Doc. No. 72), and
Plaintiff's motion requesting that the Court withdraw his
proposed third amended complaint due to misfiling (Doc. No.
79). The motion to dismiss and motion to strike have been
fully briefed. For the following reasons, the Court will
grant Defendant Lenning's motion to dismiss (Doc. No.
70), deny Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a third
amended complaint (Doc. No. 67), deny the parties'
remaining motions (Doc. Nos. 64, 68, 72, 79), and direct the
Clerk of Court to close this case.
initial complaint was brought against the United States of
America, alleging that an unnamed police officer from the
Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department arrested him for
failing to register under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law.
(Doc. No. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff maintained that “because
of the U.S. Government's doings[, ]” he was
imprisoned for almost a year. (Id. at 3.) By
Memorandum and Order dated August 21, 2018, the Court granted
Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
dismissed his complaint with leave to amend. (Doc. Nos. 15,
subsequently filed an amended complaint against Defendant
Lenning. (Doc. No. 34.) Defendant Lenning filed a motion to
dismiss the amended complaint. (Doc. No. 54.) In a Report and
Recommendation dated April 15, 2019, Magistrate Judge Carlson
recommended granting Defendant Lenning's motion to
dismiss and dismissing Plaintiff's amended complaint
without prejudice to one final opportunity to amend. (Doc.
No. 58.) In an Order dated May 2, 2019, the Court adopted the
Report and Recommendation, overruled Plaintiff's
objections, granted Defendant Lenning's motion to
dismiss, dismissed Plaintiff's amended complaint, and
directed him to file a second amended complaint within thirty
(30) days. (Doc. No. 63.)
Allegations of Second Amended Complaint
second amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on December
23, 2015, Defendant Lenning filed a “false felony
charge” against him “resulting from his faulty
and unlawful ‘Megan's Law' registering
compliance investigation which he led alone.” (Doc. No.
66 at 1.) Plaintiff claims that this “faulty
investigation culminated after [Defendant Lenning] accepted a
false statement from Plaintiff's co-worker staying
Plaintiff is non-employed.” (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges that because of Defendant Lenning's actions, he
“unduly suffered imprisonment while innocent from
December 23, 2015 to February 2, 2017.” (Id.)
He asserts claims of false arrest and false imprisonment and
seeks an unspecified amount of damages. (Id. at
Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide
the defendant notice of the claim and the grounds upon which
it rests. See Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008). The plaintiff must present
facts that, accepted as true, demonstrate a plausible right
to relief. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Although Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “only a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” a complaint may nevertheless be
dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for
its “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court
accepts as true all factual allegations in the complaint and
all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, viewed
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009); In re
Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig., 618 F.3d 300, 314 (3d
Cir. 2010). To prevent dismissal, all civil complaints must
set out “sufficient factual matter” to show that
their claims are facially plausible. See Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678; Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203,
210 (3d Cir. 2009). The plausibility standard requires more
than a mere possibility that the defendant is liable for the
alleged misconduct: “[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.'” See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
identified the following steps that a district court must
take when reviewing a 12(b)(6) motion: (1) identify the
elements that a plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2)
identify any conclusory allegations contained in the
complaint that are “not entitled” to the
assumption of truth; and (3) determine whether any
“well-pleaded factual allegations” contained in
the complaint “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief.” See Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629
F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). The Third Circuit has specified
that in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim, “a court must consider only
the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of
public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if
the complainant's claims are based upon these
documents.” See Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d
223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Pension Benefit Guar.
Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196
(3d Cir. 1993)).
context of pro se prisoner litigation, the court
must be mindful that a document filed pro se is
“to be liberally construed.” See Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). A pro se
complaint, “however inartfully pleaded, ” must be
held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers” and can be dismissed for failure to
state a claim only if it appears beyond a doubt that the
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim
that would entitle him to relief. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).