United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
CYNTHIA M. RUFE, J.
se Plaintiff Thomas Feldser, a pretrial detainee
currently confined at Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility
(“CFCF”), has filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging constitutional claims. He has
also filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.
Because it appears that Feldser is unable to afford to pay
the filing fee, the Court will grant him leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. For the following reasons,
certain claims in the Complaint will be dismissed with
prejudice, certain claims will be dismissed without
prejudice, certain claims will be permitted to proceed as
alleged, and Feldser will be granted leave to file an amended
complaint to attempt to cure the defects noted by the Court
concerning the claims dismissed without prejudice.
alleges that, during a cell transfer following his completion
of a disciplinary sentence, Defendant Correctional Officers
Boone and Sullivan threw multiple punches at his face and
lower body when he protested to them that the cell to which
he was moved was not in compliance with his medical
requirement to be housed in a lower bunk on a lower tier.
(ECF No. 1 at 4.) He was treated in the medical unit for a
bruised lip, bruised ribs, an abrasion on his ear, and
swelling above his eye. (Id.) Felder asserts that he
filed grievances about the incident, but received no reply.
(Id.) Feldser also asserts that Defendant Major
Miranda did not convene an administrative segregation hearing
until Feldser had already been in administrative segregation
for 45 days, even though he made verbal requests and filed a
grievance. (Id.) He alleges that Miranda and
Defendant Delaney, the Warden of CFCF, caused him to remain
in special housing for more than six months without due
process because Feldser spoke out against Boone and Sullivan.
(Id. at 3, 5.) Feldser names each Defendant in their
individual and official capacities. (Id. at 3.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Feldser 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) requires the Court to dismiss the
Complaint if, among other things, 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 Feldser is
proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a
complaint to contain “a short a plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
A district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint
that does not comply with Rule 8 if “the complaint is
so confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible
that its true substance, if any, is well disguised.”
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)
(quotations omitted). This Court has noted that Rule 8
“requires that pleadings provide enough information to
put a defendant on sufficient notice to prepare their defense
and also ensure that the Court is sufficiently informed to
determine the issue.” Fabian v. St. Mary's Med.
Ctr., No. Civ. A. 16-4741, 2017 WL 3494219, at *3 (E.D.
Pa. Aug. 11, 2017) (quotations omitted).
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides in part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
42 U.S.C. § 1983. “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).
Official Capacity Claims
has sued each Defendant in their official as well as
individual capacities. Official capacity claims are
indistinguishable from claims against the entity that employs
the officials. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,
165-66 (1985) (“Official-capacity suits . . .
‘generally represent only another way of pleading an
action against an entity of which an officer is an
agent.'”) (quoting Monell v. N.Y.C. Dept. of
Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690, n. 55 (1978)).
“[A]n official-capacity suit is, in all respects other
than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity.”
Id. Accordingly, the official capacity claims
against the named Defendants must be construed as claims
against the City of Philadelphia.
plead a basis for municipal liability under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that the municipality's policy or
custom caused the violation of his constitutional rights.
See Monell, 436 U.S. at 694. “To satisfy the
pleading standard, [the plaintiff] must . . . specify what
exactly that custom or policy was.” McTernan v.
City of York, PA, 564 F.3d 636, 658 (3d Cir. 2009).
“‘Policy is made when a decisionmaker
possess[ing] final authority to establish municipal policy
with respect to the action issues an official proclamation,
policy, or edict.'” Estate of Roman v. City of
Newark, 914 F.3d 789, 798 (3d Cir. 2019) (quoting
Andrews v. City of Philadelphia, 895 F.2d 1469, 1480
(3d Cir. 1990)). “‘Custom, on the other hand, can
be proven by showing that a given course of conduct, although
not specifically endorsed or authorized by law, is so
well-settled and permanent as virtually to constitute
law.'” Id. (quoting Bielevicz v.
Dubinon, 915 F.2d 845, 850 (3d Cir. 1990)). A plaintiff
illustrates that a custom was the proximate ...