United States District Court, D. Delaware
Wardell Leroy Giles, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center,
Smryna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Wardell Leroy Giles, an inmate at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He appears pro se
and has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (D.I. 8). The Court proceeds to review and
screen the Complaint (D.I. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a). Plaintiff has also filed a
request for counsel (D.I. 15) and a motion for emergency
injunctive relief (D.I. 17).
raises excessive force claims against Defendants Kirk Neal
and John Doe Quick Response Team Members as a result of the
actions they took against him on April 12, 2017. He also
names Deputy Warden Pierce as a defendant.
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 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
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)(1) 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 U.S. 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 back).
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). 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 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); BellAtl. 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.
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."
Complaint contains no allegations against Pierce, a
supervisory official. See Evancho v. Fisher, 423
F.3d 347, 353 (3d Cir. 2005) (individual government defendant
in a civil rights action must have personal involvement in
the alleged wrongdoing; liability cannot be predicated solely
on the operation of respondeat superior.). Therefore, Pierce
will be dismissed as a defendant as the claim against him is
legally frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915A(b)(1). Plaintiff has
alleged what appear to be cognizable excessive force claims
against the remaining defendants.