United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
ADAM SHADE, SCI-RETREAT, HUNLOCK CREEK, PENNSYLVANIA. PRO SE
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Troy Adam Shade, an inmate at SCI-Retreat in Hunlock Creek,
Pennsylvania, filed this Complaint alleging inaction by
Defendants in a lawsuit filed in the United States District
Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (D.I. 1).
Plaintiff appears pro se and has been granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 14). The Court
screens and reviews the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a).
alleges that Defendants Acting Clerk of Court Peter J. Welsh
and the Office of the Clerk for the United States District
Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania are
"willfully acting with wanton malice intent" by
"failing to forward" his "legal court action
filings to the Courts for processing and to the defendants
and the defendants' attorneys by electronic filing or by
the Marshal's Service" in an action he filed in the
Middle District of Pennsylvania, Shade v. Stanish,
Civ. No. 18-1429-CCC-CA (M.D. Pa.). (D.I. 1 at
1(capitalization altered)). Plaintiff explains that he mailed
and filed the civil action forms with the U.S. Marshals
Service forms on July 18, 2018, and in the mailing informed
Welsh and the Clerk's Office that he would be mailing the
"actual civil complaint" within the next several
weeks because, at the time, he did not have adequate funds
for postage. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he mailed
the "actual civil complaint" on August 14, 2018.
Court takes judicial notice that the Court docket for
Shade v. Stanish indicates that Plaintiff's
initial filing was docketed as a Complaint on July 17, 2018
at Docket Item 1 and that Plaintiff's August filing was
docketed on August 16, 2018, as a Supplement to the Complaint
at Docket Item 6. See Stanish, Civ. No.
18-1429-CCC-CA at D.I. 1 and D.I. 6. An October 30, 2018
docket entry states that waiver of service forms, the waiver
order, and the Complaint consisting of Docket Item 1 and the
Supplement at Docket Item 6 were mailed to Defendants
pursuant to the Court's Order of the same date.
Id. at D.I. 9 and D.I. 10.
alleges that on November 19, 2018, counsel for
Stanish Defendants Stanley Stanish and Brian
Dougherty filed a motion for a more definite statement and
stated that they did not receive Plaintiffs "civil
complaint which was filed." (D.I. 1 at 1-2). The Court
takes judicial notice that the supporting brief for the
motion refers to the original pleading at Docket Item 1 and
states that after four months, Plaintiff had yet to
"supplement the Statement of Facts" in the original
Complaint. Stanish, Civ. No. 18-1429-CCC-CA at D.I.
13 at 6 and D.I. 22 at 2. Plaintiff alleges that on or about
December 2, 2018, he filed a motion for service of the
Stanish complaint and, as of January 25, 2019, he
had not received a "confirmation Court order" or
notice of other action. (D.I. 1 at 2).
alleges that on January 7, 2019, counsel for other
Stanish Defendants sent him a copy of a motion for a
more definite statement, and the motion claimed that these
Defendants did not receive Plaintiffs complaint.
(Id.). The Court takes judicial notice that the
Court docket indicates these Defendants filed their motion
for a more definite statement on December 31, 2018, and a
supporting brief on January 7, 2019. See Stanish,
Civ. No. 18-1429-CCC-CA at D.I. 25, and D.I. 26. The
supporting brief makes specific reference to the Supplement
at Docket Item 6 and states, "Plaintiff did not seek
leave of Court to amend the complaint filed. In a subsequent
filing, labeled a 'Complaint,' Plaintiff makes
allegations of. . . violations of his civil rights .... (Doc.
6)." Id. at D.I. 26 at 2.
alleges that Defendants did not include the "actual
civil complaint" with the civil forms when served upon
Defendants. (D.I. 1 at 2). He asks the Court to take
appropriate action and seeks injunctive relief to instruct
Defendants to immediately serve the defendants in
Stanish with the "actual civil complaint"
and to moot Defendants' motions for a more definite
statement. (D.I. 1 at 2). The Court takes judicial notice
that on June 21, 2019, an Order was entered in the
Stanish case that dismissed without prejudice
Defendants' motions for a more definite statement, found
that it was "evident" that Plaintiff filed a
supplement to the Complaint at Docket Item 6, and noted that
Defendants had acknowledged in their filings that Plaintiff
had filed a supplemental pleading. Stanish, Civ. No.
18-1429-CCC-CA at D.I. 42.
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) if "the action
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief." Bali v.
Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013). See
also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma
pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in
which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant);
42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect
to prison conditions). The Court must accept all factual
allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light
most favorable to a pro se plaintiff. Phillips
v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir.
2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007).
Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is
liberally construed and his complaint, "however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94.
action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915A(b)(1), a court may dismiss
a complaint as frivolous if it is "based on an
indisputably meritless Segal theory" or a "clearly
baseless" or "fantastic or delusional" factual
scenario. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28; Wilson v.
Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3dCir. 1989).
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and §
1915A(b)(1) is identical to the legal standard used when
ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Tourscher v.
McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999). However,
before dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to the
screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and
1915A, the Court must grant Plaintiff leave to amend his
complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile.
See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d103, 114
(3d Cir. 2002).
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcrott v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662
(2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544
(2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that
a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City
of Shelby,574 U.S. 10 (2014). A complaint may not