United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
R. PADOVA, J.
Kevin Leach, who is representing himself (proceeding pro
se) brings this civil action against the Philadelphia
Prison System based on the conditions in which he was
recently incarcerated. Leach seeks to proceed in forma
pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will
grant Leach leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
dismiss his Complaint without prejudice to amendment.
Complaint is sparse. The Complaint suggests that Leach was
incarcerated within the Philadelphia Prison System from May
22, 2019 through July 22, 2019. In the portion of the form
complaint that asks a plaintiff to describe the facts giving
rise to his claims, Leach wrote only "human totature
[sic]." (Compl. at 5.) He claims to have suffered
"mental illness" and seeks damages of $100 million.
(Id. at 6.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court grants Leach leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of
paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly,
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires
the Court to dismiss the Complaint if it 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 Leach
is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
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).;
However, the Philadelphia Prison System "is not legal
entity but instead is a department of the City of
Philadelphia" and is not a "person" for
purposes § 1983. Burgos v. Phila. Prison System
760 F.Supp.2d 502, 503 n.l (E.D. Pa. 2011); see also
53 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 16257.
event, Leach has not stated a basis for municipal liability.
To state a § 1983 claim against a municipality, a
plaintiff must allege that the defendant's policies or
customs caused the alleged constitutional violation. See
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S.
658, 694 (1978). The plaintiff "must identify [the]
custom or policy, and specify what exactly that custom or
policy was" to satisfy the pleading standard.
McTernan v. City of York, 564 F.3d 636, 658 (3d Cir.
2009). A plaintiff may also state a basis for municipal
liability by "alleging failure-to-supervise, train, or
discipline ... [and alleging facts showing] that said failure
amounts to deliberate indifference to the constitutional
rights of those affected." Forrest v. Parry,
No. 16- 4351, 2019 WL 2998601, at *8 (3d Cir. July 10, 2019).
"This consists of a showing as to whether (1) municipal
policymakers know that employees will confront a particular
situation, (2) the situation involves a difficult choice or a
history of employees mishandling, and (3) the wrong choice by
an employee will frequently cause deprivation of
constitutional rights." Id.
Complaint is based on one entirely conclusory phrase which
indicates his belief that he was subjected to torture while
incarcerated. He has not explained the conditions to which he
was subjected in a manner that would state a plausible
constitutional violation. He also has not alleged any facts
to support a plausible basis for municipal liability based on
the conditions he intends to challenge. In sum, the Complaint
fails to state a claim.
foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss Leach's
Complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). However, Leach will be given an
opportunity to file an amended complaint in the event he can
state a plausible claim against an ...