United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
WILLIAM I. ARBUCKLE, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
INTRODUCTION AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
September 24, 2018, Plaintiff Howard Johnson
(“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se,
initiated this civil action by filing a Complaint (Doc. 1),
which was then amended (Doc. 12) on June 27, 2019.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint sought relief from
Defendants, identified as Sayre Borough Chief of Police
Daniel Reynolds (“Chief Reynolds”); Sayre Borough
Police Officer Bruce Hoffman (“Officer Hoffman”);
and Sayre Borough Police Officer Nathan Ross (“Officer
Ross”) (collectively, “Defendants”). (Doc.
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, (Doc. 8)
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.”).
Together with his Complaint, Plaintiff filed a Motion
requesting leave of Court to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Doc. 2). On April 19, 2019, I granted this
motion. (Doc. 8).
reviewing Plaintiff's original Complaint, I concluded
that it failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted and ordered Plaintiff to submit an amended complaint.
Id. Although Plaintiff's original Complaint, as
written, would typically be subject to dismissal pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), I granted Plaintiff an
opportunity to cure the deficiencies noted in the screening
order issued by this Court on April 19, 2019. Id.
filed his Amended Complaint (Doc. 12) with this Court, and
after reviewing the Amended Complaint, I conclude that it too
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Accordingly, IT IS RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Complaint
(Doc. 12) be DISMISSED with prejudice.
LEGAL STANDARD FOR REVIEWING COMPLAINTS FILED BY PRO
SE PLAINTIFFS 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
(2) 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
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
or (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. UPMCShadyside,578 F.3d 203, 209-10 (3d Cir. 2009). ...