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Jones v. Harringtonnt Delaware Police Department

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 1, 2017

MATTHEW JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
HARRINGTON, DELAWARE POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          Matthew Jones, Greenwood, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff 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 Harrington Police Department and the Justice of the Peace Court No. 6, in and for Kent County, Delaware. The matter was transferred to this Court on April 11, 2017. (D.I. 4). Jones asserts jurisdiction by reason of a United States government defendant and a federal question. The Court proceeds to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         BACKGROUND

         Jones alleges that from September 23, 2016 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.I. 1-1 at 2). Jones alleges the acts occurred as a result of a September 23, 2016 traffic stop when Jones was stopped and ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt.

         At the time of the traffic stop, Jones told the officer that he was kidnapped, that he had been kidnapped all his life, and that he desperately needed medical treatment. Jones proceeded to tell the officer about his history and advised the officer that he would be committing a felony if he ticketed Jones. The officer disagreed, ticketed Jones, and told Jones that he could call a mental health ambulance if Jones wished. Jones declined. Jones mailed in his ticket and pled "not guilty." (Id. at 3). The matter was set to be tried on February 27, 2017.

         Jones alleges that he has been arrested by the Harrington Police Department on four other occasions and has appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court No. 6. The arrests occurred in 2005, 2009, and 2011. Jones was found guilty in two of the charges and the other two charges were dismissed. He alleges there were also traffic incidents and police contacts in other jurisdictions and relates his history of kidnapping, which began in 1986 in Harrington, Delaware.

         Jones complains that: (1) he has been arrested by the Harrington Police Department, fined, hospitalized, expected to appear in court, and held to court orders by the Police Department; and (2) he has been fined, punished, and held to court orders by the Justice of the Peace Court. (Id. at 5). Jones alleges numerous violations of federal criminal law, Delaware state law, and amendments of the United States Constitution. (Id. at 6-10). He seeks seven billion dollars in damages and to have his actual identity restored.

         DISCUSSION

         A 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).

         An 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).

         The 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).

         Plaintiff 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." BellAtl. 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.

         When 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 ...


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