United States District Court, D. Delaware
DALE A. GUILFOIL, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL WEINSTEIN, Defendant.
plaintiff, Dale A. Guilfoil ("Guilfoil"), an inmate
at the Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown, Delaware,
filed this lawsuit on February 9, 2017, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  (D.I. 1.)
He appears pro se and was granted permission to
proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. (D.I. 5.) The court proceeds to review and
screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b)(1).
defendant Michael Weinstein ("Weinstein") is a
Delaware State trooper who arrested Guilfoil. On February 18,
2015, Weinstein testified at a suppression hearing held
during the course of the criminal case brought against
Guilfoil. Guilfoil alleges that Weinstein's testimony
indicates that Weinstein did not have probable cause to
arrest Guilfoil. Guilfoil alleges that Weinstein violated his
constitutional rights. He seeks compensatory and punitive
court takes judicial notice of the following: On April 1,
2015, the Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for
Kent County ("Superior Court") denied the motion to
suppress filed in Guilfoil's criminal case, State v.
Guilfoil, I.D. No. 1407004778 (Del. Super. Apr. 1,
2015), and found that "the evidence was sufficient to
establish that the officer had probable cause to believe
[Guilfoil] was driving under the influence." On June 8,
2015, following a jury trial, Guilfoil was convicted of
driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or
drugs. Guilfoil v. State, 135 A.3d 78, 2016 WL
943760 (Del. 2016) (table). Guilfoil appealed and, on March
11, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of
the Superior Court. Id. at 2016 WL 943760, at *7. On
January 10, 2017, Guilfoil filed a civil lawsuit in the
Superior Court against Weinstein and the Delaware State
Police pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans
with Disabilities act, raising almost identical claims as
those raised in the instant complaint. Guilfoil v.
Weinstein, C.A. No. K17C-01-006 JJC (Del. Super.) at
BL-1. The complaint was dismissed on January 30, 2017, as
factually frivolous, legally frivolous, malicious, and
plainly appearing from the face of the complaint there was no
entitlement to relief. Id. at BL-4. Guilfoil did not
appeal dismissal of the case. He commenced this action on
February 9, 2017.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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." Ball 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
Guilfoil 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) and § 1915A(b)(1), 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 at 327-28; Wilson v.
Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989); see,
e.g., Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1091-92
(3d Cir. 1995) (holding frivolous a suit alleging that prison
officials took an inmate's pen and refused to give it
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) (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 and 1915A, the
court must grant Guilfoil 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. 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, __ 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.
the pleading regime established by Twombly and
Iqbal, a court 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, the
court should 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."
Claim Preclusion/Res Judicata
preclusion, formerly referred to as res judicata, bars a
claim litigated between the same parties or their privies in
earlier litigation where the claim arises from the same set
of facts as a claim adjudicated on the merits in the earlier
litigation. Blunt v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 767
F.3d 247, 277 (3d Cir. 2014). Res judicata bars not only
claims that were brought in the previous action, but also
claims that could have been brought. Id. (citations
omitted). "A claim extinguished by res judicata includes
all rights of the plaintiff to remedies against the defendant
with respect to all or any part of the transaction, or series
of connected transactions, out of which the action
arose." Id. (citations omitted). Claim
preclusion gives dispositive effect to a prior judgment if a
particular issue, although not litigated, could have been
raised in the earlier proceeding. Claim preclusion requires:
(1) a final judgment on the merits in a prior suit involving;
(2) the same parties or their privities [sic]; and (3) a
subsequent suit based on the same cause of action."
Id. at 276 (citations omitted).
clear from a review of the instant complaint and that filed
in the Superior Court that the complaint at bar is brought
against the same defendant and is clearly based upon the same
transactions and occurrences at the center of the complaint
Guilfoil filed in the Superior Court. Accordingly, the court
will dismiss the instant complaint as legally frivolous
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § ...