United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD CAPUTO United States District Judge.
se Plaintiff Rateek Allah,  a federal inmate formerly
housed at the Federal Correctional Complex in Allenwood
(FCC-Allenwood), Pennsylvania,  initiated this lawsuit in August
2018, asserting that Ms. Martinez issued him an Incident
Report on June 16, 2018, for being in an unauthorized area,
in retaliation for his filing of a lawsuit. (ECF No. 1.)
Prior to the Court screening the Complaint, Mr. Allah sought
leave to file an amended complaint. On May 20, 2019, Mr.
Allah filed his Amended Complaint (ECF No. 29.) Mr.
Allah's Amended Complaints names 6 additional defendants
but fails to mention Ms. Martinez, the original Defendant.
The Amended Complaint also sets forth three new claims
unrelated to his retaliation claim against Ms. Martinez.
Additionally, at least one of the new claims is based on
events that took place after Mr. Allah initiated this
Amended Complaint is presently before the Court for screening
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Since Mr. Allah's Amended Complaint fails to comply with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20, the Amended Complaint
will be dismissed, and Mr. Allah will be granted leave to
file a second amended complaint relative to his claims
against Ms. Martinez.
Standard of Review for Screening Pro Se In Forma
litigant seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, without
payment of fees, 28 U.S.C. § 1915 requires the court to
screen the complaint. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Likewise, when a prisoner seeks redress from a
government defendant in a civil action, whether proceeding
in forma pauperis or not, the court must screen the
complaint. See28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Both 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915(A) give the court
the authority to dismiss a complaint if it is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) - (iii); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) - (2);
Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013).
complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or fact. See Mitchell v. Horn, 318 F.3d 523,
530 (3d Cir. 2003) (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 327-28, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 1832 - 33, 104 L.Ed.2d 338
(1989)). In deciding whether the complaint fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, the court employs the
standard used to analyze motions to dismiss under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Allah v. Seiverling, 229
F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000). Under Rule 12(b)(6), the court
“must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded
facts as true, but may disregard any legal
conclusions.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578
F.3d 203, 210 - 11 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 - 50,
173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). The court may also rely on exhibits
attached to the complaint and matters of public record.
Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263, 268 (3d Cir.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint is required to
provide “the defendant fair notice of what the . . .
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d
Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).
the sufficiency of the complaint, the court “must take
three steps.” Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp.,
809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016). First, a court must
“take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to
state a claim.” Id.(internal quotations and
brackets omitted). Second, the court must identify
allegations that are merely legal conclusions “because
they . . . are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Id.While detailed factual allegations
are not required, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964). Third, a court should assume the
veracity of all well-pleaded factual allegations and
“then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.” Connelly, 809 F.3d at
787 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. at
complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be
liberally construed and “held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Fantone v. Latini, 780 F.3d
184, 193 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 - 21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596, 30 L.Ed.2d 652
(1972)); see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007).
Yet, even a pro se plaintiff “must allege
sufficient facts in their complaints to support a
claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704
F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). Pro
se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative
amended complaint even when a plaintiff does not seek leave
to amend, unless such an amendment would be inequitable or
futile. See Estate of Lagano v. Bergen Cty.
Prosecutor's Office, 769 F.3d 850, 861 (3d Cir.
2014). A complaint that sets forth facts which affirmatively
demonstrate that the plaintiff has no right to recover is
properly dismissed without leave to amend. Grayson v.
Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 2002).
these principles in mind, the Court sets forth the background
to this litigation, as Plaintiff alleges it in his Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 29).
Allegations of the Amended Complaint
Allah “incorporates all the facts in original claim
into [his] amended complaint”. (Id.at 4 and
6.) He also asserts three new claims against several new
defendants. (Id.) First, Mr. Allah claims that
Counselor Neylon, Corrections Officers (CO) Boyer and Leon,
on an unspecified date, issued him a false misconduct for
possession of wine and two knives. (Id. at 4.)
Although the weapons charge was eventually dropped, it was
not until after he was placed in the Special Housing Unit
(SHU) for prehearing confinement. (Id.) He claims
the issuance of the false incident report was in retaliation
for his grievance activity while housed at FCC-Allenwood.
Allah's second new claim asserts that Lt. Rakowski
verbally threatened him with harm if he refused to accept a
new cellmate with a known history of talking to imaginary
people and starting fights with staff and inmates.
(Id.at 5.) Mr. Allah's new cellmate assaulted
him on March 16, 2019. (Id.)
asserts that Dr. Bushman and Pamela Cook denied his request
for a medical transfer. (Id.at 6.) Mr. Allah claims
that he could not receive the necessary treatment necessary
to care for him at FCC-Allenwood. (Id.) He claims
these proposed defendants ...