United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
William I. Arbuckle United States Magistrate Judge
April 29, 2019, Eric Diaz (“Plaintiff”),
proceeding pro se, brought suit against Dauphin
County, Dauphin County District Attorney's Office,
Dauphin County Adult Probation/Parole Department, Dauphin
County Work Release Center, Dauphin County District
Attorney's Office Criminal Investigation Division,
Dauphin County Information Technology Department, Judge
Deborah E. Curcillo, Judge Edward M. Marsico, Jr., and
employees/officers from these offices. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff
alleged violations of his constitutional rights and sought
compensatory damages and equitable relief. Id.
subsequently moved to dismiss that complaint. (Doc. 16).
Following the filing of this motion to dismiss, Plaintiff
filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 18). In his Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff named the same defendants, seeking
compensatory damages and equitable relief. (Doc. 16). In his
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges violations of his
constitutional rights because Judge Curcillo's imposed
sentence is illegal.
filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma
pauperis (Doc. 2), and on July 23, 2019, it was granted
he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Plaintiff is
subject to the screening provisions in 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e). See Atamian v. Burns, 236 Fed.Appx. 753,
755 (3d Cir. 2007) (“the screening procedures set forth
in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) apply to in forma
pauperis complaints filed by prisoners and non-prisoners
alike”). Under this statute, the Court is required to
dismiss any action that is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Collins v.
Cundy, 603 F.2d 825, 828 (10th Cir. 1979)
(“[T]here is no constitutional right to the expenditure
of public funds and the valuable time of federal courts to
prosecute an action which is totally without merit.”).
reviewing Plaintiff's Complaint, I conclude that it fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and that
granting further leave to amend would be both futile and
inequitable because Plaintiff has not obtained a favorable
termination of his conviction or sentence at this time.
Accordingly, IT IS RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint (Doc. 18) be DISMISSED without further leave to
LEGAL STANDARD FOR SCREENING COMPLAINTS FILED BY LITIGANTS
PROCEEDING IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Court has a statutory obligation to conduct a preliminary
review of pro se complaints brought by
litigants given leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Specifically, the Court is obliged to review the complaint in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides,
in pertinent part:
Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that
may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any
time if the court determines that -
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal--
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
performing this mandatory screening function, the Court
applies the same standard that is used to evaluate motions to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, which provides that a complaint should be
dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
observed the evolving standards governing pleading practice
in the federal courts, stating that “pleading standards
have seemingly shifted from simple notice pleading to a more
heightened form of pleading, requiring a plaintiff to plead
more than the possibility of relief to survive a motion to
dismiss.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 209-10 (3d Cir. 2009). “[A] complaint must do more
than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief.”
Id. at 211. It also “has to ‘show'
such an entitlement with its facts.” Id.
the sufficiency of the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), the
court must conduct the following three-step inquiry:
First, the court must “tak[e] note of the elements a
plaintiff must plead to state a claim.” Iqbal,
129 S.Ct. at 1947. Second, the court should identify
allegations that, “because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Id. at 1950. Finally, “where
there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.”
Santiago v. Warminster Tp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d
complaint filed by a pro se litigant is to be
liberally construed and ‘“however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Erickson v.
Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble,429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Nevertheless,
“pro se litigants still 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).
Thus, a well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere
legal labels and conclusions. Rather, a pro se
complaint must recite factual allegations that are ...