United States District Court, D. Delaware
Matthew Jones, Greenwood, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S, District Judge.
Matthew Jones, who appears pro se and has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, filed
this action in December 2016 in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the
Justice of the Peace Court No. 4, Sussex County, Delaware.
The matter was transferred to this Court on December 29,
2016. (D.l. 3). Jones asserts jurisdiction by reason of a
United States government defendant and a federal question and
alleges that his claims arise under the Constitution, laws or
treaties of the United States. The Court proceeds to screen
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
alleges that from December 31, 2014 to the present, long
standing enslavement, sexual slavery, forced labor, identity
theft, larceny, forgery, assault, attempted murder, rape,
pedophilia, and other felonious acts were committed. (D.l.
1-1 at p.2). Jones alleges the acts occurred as a result of
his 2014 New Year's Eve arrest for felony assault.
Following the arrest, Jones was taken to Sussex County
Correctional Institute. He alleges that he was held for
eleven days without bail and was not allowed to speak to an
attorney. Jones alleges that for the first day he was placed
in a single cell on suicide watch and served inedible food.
He alleges that he required medical care, but it was not
provided. Plaintiff alleges that he was held an extra day
after he posted bail. The charges against Plaintiff were
reduced to third degree assault and terroristic threatening
and ultimately dismissed.
alleges numerous violations of federal criminal law, Delaware
State law, and amendments of the United States Constitution.
(Id. at pp.6-10). He seeks two billion dollars in
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(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." Ball v. Famiglio, 726
F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions). 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 (citations omitted).
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), a court may dismiss a complaint as
frivolous if it is "based on an indisputably meritless
legal 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 (3d Cir. 1989).
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) 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) (applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
standard to dismissal for failure to state a claim under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)). 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, 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.3d
103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombiy, 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, ___U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A
complaint may not dismissed, however, for imperfect
statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted.
See Id. at 346.
reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint must take three
steps: (1) take note of the elements the plaintiff must plead
to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that, because they
are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth; and (3) when there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, assume their veracity and then determine
whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016) (internal citations and quotations omitted).
Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts in the
complaint "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to
relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). Deciding whether a claim is plausible will be a
"context-specific task that requires the reviewing court
to draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
sole defendant is the Family Court of Delaware in and for
Sussex County. The Eleventh Amendment protects states and
their agencies and departments from suit in federal court
regardless of the kind of relief sought. Pennhurst State
School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100
(1984). "Absent a state's consent, the Eleventh
Amendment bars a civil rights suit in federal court that
names the state as a defendant." Laskaris v.
Thornburgh, 661 F.2d 23, 25 (3d Cir. 1981) (citing
Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781 (1978)). Delaware has
not waived its immunity from suit in federal court; although
Congress can abrogate a state's sovereign immunity, it
did not do so through the enactment of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Brooks-McCollum v. Delaware, 213 F.App'x 92,
94 (3d Cir. 2007).
the reasoning of the Third Circuit in Benn v. First
Judicial Dist of Pa., the Court concludes that the
Family Court is a state entity and, thus, immune from suit.
Benn,426 F.3d 233, 239-40 (3d Cir. 2005)
(concluding that Pennsylvania's First Judicial District
is a state entity entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity).
In addition, dismissal is proper because the Family Court is
not a person for purposes of § 1983. See Will v.
Michigan Dep't of State Police,491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989); Calhoun v. Young, 288 F.App'x 47 (3d