United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a federal civil rights action. It commenced on September 17,
2019, when the Clerk of Court received the pro se
complaint, signed and dated by the plaintiff, Ronald Best, on
August 29, 2019. (Doc. 1.) The complaint was accompanied by a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in
this action, which we have granted. At the time of filing,
Best was incarcerated at SCI Huntingdon, located in
Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.
reasons stated herein, we recommend that the complaint be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii),
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), and 42 U.S.C. §
addition to SCI Huntingdon itself, the complaint names eight
individual defendants. These include a prison doctor, Dr.
Bassem Kalada, a prison nurse named Rob, and six correctional
officers named C. Knouse, J. Fieni, R. Cramer, J. Redfern,
McMann, and W. Clubert.
alleges that, on November 21, 2017, officer Knouse instructed
him to leave his cell and go to the front of the housing
unit. While he was walking there, officers Fieni, McMann, and
Clubert placed him in hand restraints. These three officers
were then joined by officers Redfern and Cramer in escorting
Best to the prison medical department. Once there, the five
correctional officers physically restrained Best while Dr.
Kalada and Nurse Rob administered a dose of Narcan nasal
spray in Best's left nostril. He was then forced to
change into a jumpsuit and transported to a hospital outside
the prison. At the hospital, a non-party doctor, Dr. Horvak,
allegedly informed Best that he should not have received
Narcan. After tests confirmed that Best was okay, he was
released from the hospital. Best was transported to SCI
Smithfield, also located in Huntingdon County, and held in
the prison infirmary there for the rest of the day.
November 22, 2017, Best was transported back to SCI
Huntingdon, where he was placed into disciplinary confinement
for eighteen days. After the eighteen days elapsed, he was
returned to the general prison population.
on these factual allegations, Best claims that the named
defendants violated his rights under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He
seeks an award of compensatory and punitive damages, as well
as declaratory judgment an injunctive order directing the
defendants to “cease their physical violence and
threats toward plaintiff.”
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is obligated to screen a
civil complaint in which a prisoner is seeking redress from a
governmental entity or an officer or employee of a
governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a); James v.
Pa. Dep't of Corr., 230 Fed. App'x 195, 197 (3d
Cir. 2007). The Court must dismiss the complaint if it
“fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). The Court has a
similar obligation with respect to actions brought in
forma pauperis and actions concerning prison conditions.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i); id.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).
See generally Banks v. Cty. of Allegheny, 568
F.Supp.2d 579, 587-89 (W.D. Pa. 2008) (summarizing prisoner
litigation screening procedures and standards).
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim under § 1915A(b)(1), §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), or § 1997e(c) is the same as that for
dismissing a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Brodzki v. Tribune
Co., 481 Fed. App'x 705, 706 (3d Cir. 2012) (per
curiam); Mitchell v. Dodrill, 696 F.Supp.2d 454, 471
(M.D. Pa. 2010); Banks, 568 F.Supp.2d at 588.
“Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be
granted only if, accepting all well-pleaded allegations in
the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, a court finds the plaintiff's
claims lack facial plausibility.” Warren Gen. Hosp.
v. Amgen Inc., 643 F.3d 77, 84 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007)). In deciding the motion, the Court may consider the
facts alleged on the face of the complaint, as well as
“documents incorporated into the complaint by
reference, and matters of which a court may take judicial
notice.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues &
Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). Although the
Court must accept the fact allegations in the complaint as
true, it is not compelled to accept “unsupported
conclusions and unwarranted inferences, or a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation.” Morrow v.
Balaski, 719 F.3d 160, 165 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Baraka v. McGreevey, 481 F.3d 187, 195 (3d Cir.
2007)). Nor is it required to credit factual allegations
contradicted by indisputably authentic documents on which the
complaint relies or matters of public record of which we may
take judicial notice. In re Washington Mut. Inc.,
741 Fed. App'x 88, 91 n.3 (3d Cir. Sept. 25, 2018);
Sourovelis v. City of Philadelphia, 246 F.Supp.3d
1058, 1075 (E.D. Pa. 2017); Banks, 568 F.Supp.2d at
has brought this federal civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Section 1983 provides in pertinent 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
redress . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 does not create
substantive rights, but instead provides remedies for rights
established elsewhere. City of Oklahoma City v.
Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 816 (1985). To establish a §
1983 claim, a plaintiff must establish that the defendants,
acting under color of state law, deprived the plaintiff of a
right secured by the United States Constitution. Mark v.
Borough of Hatboro, 51 F.3d 1137, 1141 (3d Cir. 1995).
To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, a civil
rights complaint must state the conduct, time, place, and
persons responsible for the alleged civil rights violations.
Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 353 (3d Cir. 2005).
plaintiff has included SCI Huntingdon, the prison where he is
confined, among the several named defendants in this §
1983 suit. But it is well established that a prison or
correctional facility is not a “person” subject
to suit under § 1983. See Fischer v. Cahill,
474 F.2d 991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973) (per curiam); see also
Edwards v. Northampton Cty., 663 Fed. App'x 132, 136
(3d Cir. 2016) (per curiam); DiMaio v. George W. Hill
Intake Dep't, 367 F.Supp.3d 301, 305 (E.D. Pa.
we recommend that the plaintiff's claims against SCI
Huntingdon be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §