United States District Court, D. Delaware
Junior Strand, Millsboro, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
U.S. District Judge
Arthur Junior Strand ("Plaintiff) filed this action on
March 8, 2017. (D.I. 2) He appears pro se and has
been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
(D.I. 7) The Court proceeds to review and screen the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Complaint and its amendments allege that on February 18,
2015, Defendants patrolman John P. Thompson
("Thompson") and Chabela Mata ("Mata")
made false allegations of rape against Plaintiff without
conducting an adequate investigation. It further alleges that
on February 20, 2015, Plaintiff was stopped by Thompson and
issued a traffic citation, and Plaintiffs vehicle was
unlawfully seized in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff then
spoke to Defendant Blades Chief of Police Cooke
("Cooke") who explained why the vehicle had been
seized. Plaintiff was arrested on March 3, 2015, and charged
with rape. Plaintiff filed his Complaint on Mach 8, 2017. He
seeks compensator)7 damages.
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. Yamiglio, 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. See Phillips v. County of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008);
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 US. 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, 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)®, a court may dismiss a complaint as
frivolous if it is "based on an indisputably meridess
legal theory" or a "clearly baseless" or
"fantastic or delusional" factual scenario.
Neitzke, 490 at 327-28; see also Wilson v.
Rackmill, 878 F.2d772, 774 (3d Or. 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 deciding Rule
12(b)(6) motions. See 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 a plaintiff leave to amend
his complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or
futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293
F.3dl03, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).
complaint may be dismissed 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 entidement to relief." Be//At/. 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." Davis v. Abington
Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014)
(internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
See Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC, 765 F.3d 306,
315 (3d Or. 2014) (citing Asbcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Tivombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Finally, 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 for imperfect
statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted.
See Id. at 346.
the pleading regime established by Tivombly 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. See
Connelly v. Tane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts
in the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is
entitled to relief. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679 (citing 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." Id.
Plaintiffs claims are time-barred. For purposes of the
statute of limitations, § 1983 claims are characterized
as personal injury actions. See Wilson v. Garcia,471 U.S. 261, 275 (1983). In Delaware, § 1983 claims are
subject to a two-year limitations period. See 10
Del. C. § 8119; Johnson v. Cullen, 925 F.Supp.
244, 248 (D. Del. 1996). Section 1983 claims accrue
"when the plaintiff knew or should have known of the