United States District Court, D. Delaware
WILLIAM C. FLETCHER, JR., Plaintiff,
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, et al., Defendants.
plaintiff, William C. Fletcher, Jr. ("Fletcher"),
an inmate at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution
("HRYCI"), Wilmington, Delaware, filed this lawsuit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 3, 7.) 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 §
alleges he was retaliated against by the defendant medical
service provider Connections CSP ("Connections")
when it failed to provide him mental health and medical care
following grievances he submitted. Fletcher participated in a
behavior modification program ("program") that is
run by Connections. Fletcher explains that his counselor in
the program approached him to arrange a job interview at a
car dealership where Fletcher was employed prior to his
incarceration. Fletcher advised the counselor that doing so
would break Department of Correction ("DOC") rules
and the counselor told Fletcher "to do it." (D.I.
3-1 at 1.)
he was interviewed, the counselor returned to work upset
because he was told there would be no job openings for four
to five weeks. The counselor was paranoid that Fletcher would
tell someone what the counselor had done. Fletcher alleges
that the counselor orchestrated a write-up to get Fletcher
kicked out of the program.  Fletcher submitted a grievance after
he was kicked out of the program. The grievance referred to
the counselor and the car dealership employment. Fletcher was
then interviewed by Mike with Connections Mental Health. When
there was no resolution, Fletcher submitted another
grievance, but received no response.
Fletcher spoke to DOC employees and wrote a letter to the
warden. After that, Fletcher was visited by Internal Affairs.
Fletcher was told by Internal Affairs that the counselor
would never work at the DOC again. The counselor no longer
works in the program. At some point in time prior to his
discharge, the counselor became aware Fletcher's
grievances and all the people who work for Connections at the
DOC also knew of the grievances. Fletcher explains that the
Connections employees are "like one small family."
He alleges that after, that his mental health care was
neglected, he had strep throat and pneumonia and went to
medical every day for 35 days before he finally received
treatment. In addition, Fletcher alleges that: (1) there have
been repeated delays in the receipt of eye glasses; (2) he
has skin cancer but Connections refuses to provide a biopsy;
(3) medical personnel will not draw his blood and made him
draw his own blood; (4) his asthma breathing disk is
misplaced for four or five days every time he goes to court;
and (5) Connections indicated that it is unfair to allow
Fletcher to participate in the program at the HRYCI where he
got a counselor fired. Fletcher seeks compensatory damages
and a transfer to the Georgetown DOC facility.
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
Fletcher 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 Fletcher 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."
is an agency of the State of 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.
Thornburgh, 661 F.2d 23, 25 (3d Cir. 1981) (citing
Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781 (1978)). Delaware has
not waived its immunity from suit in federal court; although
Congress can abrogate a state's sovereign immunity, it
did not do so through the enactment of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Brooks-McCollum v. Delaware, 213 Fed.Appx. 92,
94 (3d Cir. 2007) (unpublished). In addition, dismissal is
proper because the DOC is not a person for purposes of §
1983. See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71(1989); Calhoun v.
Young, 288 Fed.Appx. 47 (3d Cir. 2008) (unpublished).
the court will dismiss the DOC pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) and § ...