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Deeck v. Serody

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

November 5, 2019

BRANDON DEECK, Plaintiff, pro se
C/O MR. SERODY, et al., Defendants



         Pro se Plaintiff Brandon Deeck, a prisoner[1] who was formerly confined at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility (“GWH”) and is now incarcerated at Chester County Prison, has brought a civil rights Complaint based on events that occurred at GWH. He has also filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Named as Defendants are Correctional Officer Serody, Doctor Phillips, Correctional Officer Ebowa, and Warden Burns. Because it appears that Deeck is unable to afford to pay the filing fee, the Court will grant him leave to proceed in forma pauperis. For the following reasons, the Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         I. FACTS

         Deeck's handwritten Complaint is difficult to read. He appears to assert that, from February 23, 2018 to April 22, 2019 while he was in custody at GWH, he had to sleep on the floor in a “boat” - a type of temporary bed - with two other inmates in a cell designed to hold only two inmates. He claims that Defendant Serody told him if he did not use the boat he would “suffer extreme consequences.” (ECF No. 3 at 2.)[2] He claims that he fell while getting out of his boat and injured his back. He was taken to an “outside hospital on the compound” where he was treated by Dr. Phillips. (Id.) However, Deeck also contradictorily asserts that Defendant Phillips refused to treat him but ordered him to be transported to Jefferson Hospital for treatment of his injury.

         When he was returned to his cellblock after getting treatment and was assigned to the same boat, Deeck complained to Serody who threatened him with “imminent danger and serious physical injury.” (Id. at 3.) He alleges that Defendant Ebowa threatened him as well. Serody and Ebowa then placed him in a cell naked and began making sexually explicit comments. (Id.) Deeck makes no factual assertions about Defendant Burns.


         The Court will grant Deeck leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action.[3] Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) requires the Court to dismiss the Complaint if, among other things, it is frivolous or 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 Deeck is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).

         Rule 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).


         Section 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 redress.

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).

         A. Claims Involving Conditions of Confinement

         The Eighth Amendment governs claims brought by convicted inmates challenging their conditions of confinement, while the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment governs claims brought by pretrial detainees. Hubbard v. Taylor, 399 F.3d 150, 166 (3d Cir. 2005). As Deeck's status during his ...

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