United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
JEFFREY L. SCHMEHL, JUDGE
before the Court is an Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff
Jimi Rose, who is representing himself (proceeding pro
se) against three employees of the CareerLink Office in
Allentown, Pennsylvania. For the following reasons, the Court
will dismiss Rose's claims with the exception of his
First Amendment claims against Defendants Mike Dopkin and
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISOTRY
events giving rise to Rose's claims occurred in March of
2019, when he visited the CareerLink office in Allentown. The
gist of Rose's initial Complaint was that Defendant
Janet, an employee at the office, reported that Rose, who is
black, made a threat against the security guard. As a result,
Defendant Dopkin, after speaking with his supervisor,
Defendant Dischinat, barred Rose from all CareerLink offices
in Allentown and Bethlehem. Accordingly, Rose filed this
civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, § 1983,
§ 1985 and § 1986, claiming that he was subjected
to race discrimination, that his right to travel was
infringed, and that even if he had made the threat, the
Defendants reaction violated the First Amendment. He also
included the Department of Labor & Industry, Equal
Opportunity Office as a Defendant.
July 29, 2019 Memorandum and Order, the Court granted Rose
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed
most of his claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). First, the Court dismissed any § 1981
claims because that statute does not provide a right of
action against a state actor. Second, the Court dismissed
Rose's § 1983 claims against the Department of Labor
& Industry, Equal Opportunity Office and the individual
Defendants in their official capacities because those claims
are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Third, the Court
rejected Rose's right to travel claims because Rose did
not allege that he was discriminated against as an interstate
traveler or based on his residency in a given state. Fourth,
the Court dismissed Rose's equal protection claims
because, leaving his conclusory allegations and
characterizations aside, he failed to allege that he was
treated differently from others similarly situated based on
his race. The Court also concluded that Rose failed to state
a claim under § 1985(3) because he failed to state a
race-based conspiracy and that the absence of a plausible
§ 1985(3) claim was fatal to his § 1986 claim.
Although the Court permitted Rose to proceed on his First
Amendment claims against Dopkin and Dischinat based on their
expulsion of Rose from CareerLink offices, Rose was also
given leave to file an amended complaint.
returned with an Amended Complaint against Janet, Dopkin, and
Dischinat, raising claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
§ 1985 and § 1986. Rose alleges that on the
occasion in question, he overheard two boys joking about
harming the security guard and that he passed that
information along to Janet. Rose alleges that Janet
“made a Judgement Call which painted [him], an Elderly
Black Man, in the worst light possible given the
situation” and “fabricated a story” by
telling Dopkin that Rose intended to harm her or the security
guard. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 13, at 2.) Dopkin then
reported the information to Dischinat. Rose alleges that
Dopkin and Dischinat essentially conspired to believe Janet,
a white woman, over his version of events, and permanently
expelled him from CareerLink offices on that basis. Based on
those allegations, Rose seeks damages from the Defendants for
allegedly violating his civil rights.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
is proceeding in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii) apply, which require the Court to
dismiss the Amended Complaint if it is frivolous or fails to
state a claim. A Complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact, ” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989), and is legally
baseless if it is “based on an indisputably meritless
legal theory.” Deutsch v. United States, 67
F.3d 1080, 1085 (3d Cir. 1995).
survive dismissal, a complaint “must contain 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).
Although the Court must take the Complaint's factual
allegations as true, it must also “disregard legal
conclusions and ‘recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.'”
Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 128 (3d
Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
As Rose is proceeding pro se, the Court construes
his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen.,
655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Section 1983 Claims
“To 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). For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss
Rose's § 1983 claims with the exception of his First
Amendment claims against Dopkin and Dischinat.
Official Capacity Claims
noted in the Court's prior opinion, the Eleventh
Amendment bars suits against a state and its agencies in
federal court. See Pennhurst State Sch. And Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 99-100 (1984); A.W. v.
Jersey City Public Schs., 341 F.3d 234, 238 (3d Cir.
2003). Suits against state officials acting in their official
capacities are really suits against the employing government
agency, and as such, are also barred by the Eleventh
Amendment.A.W., 341 F.3d at 238; see
also Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991). Accordingly,
the Court will dismiss Rose's damages claims against the