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 March 2017 in the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Superior
Court of the State of Delaware in and for Kent County. The
matter was transferred to this Court on April 10, 2017. (D.I.
4). Jones asserts jurisdiction by reason of a United States
government defendant, a federal question, and federal
diversity. (D.I. 1-1 at 2). The Court proceeds to screen the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
alleges that on January 31, 2017, after his mother called
Recovery Innovations and the Delaware State Police arrived at
their home, he was taken for a psychiatric evaluation. He was
arrested and held at the Seaford Nanticoke Hospital for over
12 hours and transported to Recovery Innovations. Jones
alleges that the Nanticoke Hospital could find no reason to
hold him when the hold expired, but Recovery Innovations (who
diagnosed Jones as schizophrenic) said a hold had been placed
by the Delaware State Police. Jones has filed a separate
lawsuit against Recovery Innovations, Civ. A. No. 17-396-RGA
(D. Del. Apr. 11, 2017).
was held at Recovery Innovations for approximately 24 hours
and transferred to Dover Behavioral Health where he was held
involuntarily until February 22, 2017. Two court hearings
were held at the Kent County Superior Court during this time.
Jones was unable to attend the hearings. He states that an
order was entered for him to continue treatment for
schizophrenia, take medication, and see a psychiatrist. Jones
states that there "are no doctors or court personnel
locally" and that "all are represented by identity
thieves who normally do not age" and "many have
shabby, unbelievable names." (D.I. 1-1 at 3).
alleges numerous violations of federal criminal law, Delaware
State law, and amendments of the United States Constitution.
(Id. at 4-7). 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).
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).
proceeds pro se and, therefore, 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. 89, 94 (2007). Under Rule 12(b)(6),
a motion to dismiss may be granted only if, accepting the
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a court
concludes that those allegations "could not raise a
claim of entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). "Though
'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a
complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'" Daw's v.
Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In
addition, 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, a court should
follow a three-step process: (1) consider the elements
necessary to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that are
merely conclusions and therefore are not well-pleaded factual
allegations; and (3) accept any well-pleaded factual
allegations as true and determine whether they plausibly
state a claim. See Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp.,
809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016); Williams v. BASF
Catalysts LLC, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014).
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."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
sole defendant is the Superior Court in and for Kent County,
Delaware. 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.
Thomburgh,661 F.2d 23, 25 (3d Cir. 1981). Delaware has
not waived its immunity from suit in federal court; although
Congress can abrogate a state's sovereign ...