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Loper v. Commonwealth of PA

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 25, 2019

MATT L. LOPER, Plaintiff
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PA, Defendant

          SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          RICHARD A. LANZILLO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         It is hereby recommended that the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 1] be GRANTED. The Clerk is ordered to docket the Complaint.

         It is further recommended that this action be dismissed as legally frivolous in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The Clerk of Courts should be directed to close this case.

         II. REPORT

         A. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis

         Plaintiff Matt L. Loper (“Plaintiff”) initiated this pro se civil rights action by filing a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. In his motion, Plaintiff states that he is unable to pay the filing fee associated with this case. Based upon this averment, it appears that Plaintiff is without sufficient funds to pay the costs and fees of the proceedings. Accordingly, his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis should be granted.

         B. Assessment of Plaintiff's Complaint

         Having been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, Plaintiff is subject to the screening provisions in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).[1] Among other things, that statute requires the Court to dismiss any action in which the Court determines that the action is “frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); Muchler v. Greenwald, 624 Fed.Appx. 794, 796-97 (3d Cir. 2015). A frivolous complaint is one which is either based upon an indisputably meritless legal theory (such as when a defendant enjoys immunity from suit) or based upon factual contentions which are clearly baseless (such as when the factual scenario described is fanciful or delusional). Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). The determination as to whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. D'Agostino v. CECOM RDEC, 436 Fed.Appx. 70, 72 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999)).

         Plaintiff commenced this action by filling out and mailing the standard form frequently used by inmates to initiate a civil rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1-1. Plaintiff identifies himself as an inmate incarcerated at the Crawford County Correctional Facility and references an underlying criminal action (CP-20-CR-166-2019) as the source of his injury. Id. at 1. In response to a question on the form asking which federal law has been violated, Plaintiff states: “Injured, and wronged by Judge Misconduct.” Id. at 2. The factual narrative attached to his filing consists of only the following three statements:

The Court of Common Pleas used burden that was placed with false facts to detain a person with cuffs.
The Court of Common Pleas used a court address to conduct a false proceeding.
The Court of Common Pleas used false facts to take a person ...

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