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Shivers v. Sussex Correctional Institution

United States District Court, D. Delaware

November 14, 2017

DWIGHT L SHIVERS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
SUSSEX CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION and CONNECTIONS, Defendants.

          Dwight L. Shivers, Jr., James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Andrews, U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Dwight L. Shivers, Jr., an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 3). Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee housed at the Sussex Correctional Institution when he commenced this action. He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 5). The Court proceeds to review and screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(a).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that on June 25, 2017, he discovered the mattress he slept on was growing active mold. He informed several correctional officers and supervisors about the problem, none of whom did anything to correct the situation. As a result of the mold, Plaintiff began itching and developed rashes and bumps covering the lower half of his body and his feet. He submitted sick call slips to see a nurse.

         Plaintiff asked a nurse who was administering medications to check him out and was laughed at. Plaintiff returned to his cell untreated. By the next evening, Plaintiffs legs were bleeding because he had been itching and scratching. That evening he saw a nurse who told Plaintiff he would see a physician the first thing in the morning. Plaintiff did not see a physician for over three days. At that time, the physician told Plaintiff the condition was probably caused by the water. Plaintiff was given medication for the inflammation and told to return if the medication did not work. Plaintiff returned because the medication was ineffective, and he was given some cream. Plaintiff alleges that he has submitted more than three sick call slips and has not received a response. He is in agony and has bumps all over his body. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.

         SCREENING OF COMPLAINT

         A 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.

         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) 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).

         The 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.3d103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).

         A 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.

         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, 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). 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." Id.

         DISCUSSION

         Eleventh ...


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