United States District Court, D. Delaware
HARRY T. COLLINS, Plaintiff,
KARREN STEELLMEN, et al., Defendants.
plaintiff, Harry T. Collins ("Collins"), appears
pro se and was granted permission to proceed in
forma pauperis. (D.I. 4.) Collins commenced action on
August 28, 2017 alleging race discrimination. (D.I. 2.) The
court proceeds to review and screen the complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
alleges that jurisdiction is proper based upon a federal
question due to "administration, segregation, too much
prejudice going on in Wilmington Housing Authority
("WHA")." (D.I. 2 at 3.) Collins alleges that
the WHA receives federal subsidized monies for the WHA
has lived in WHA property for three years. He alleges that
since his arrival he has put up with nothing but abuse from
the tenants and staff. Collins, who is white, alleges that
the racial breakdown in his building is 98 percent Black, one
percent White, and one percent Hispanic. Collins complains
that only one White person and one Hispanic person work for
further complains that a tenant who lives on his floor has
been stealing from him, but he cannot prove it. He has asked
administration to check the cameras and has been given the
run around, and he was told that he could not be helped if he
did not know the exact time and day. He has also sought
assistance from the police. Collins alleges that "all
these people are Black and they just keep brushing [him] off,
" and in the meantime the girl keeps stealing his
things. (Id. at 5.) Collins alleges that if there
were Whites living in his building and working for the WHA he
would not have this problem and it would have been taken care
of a long time ago. Collins alleges that if you are White and
poor you do not stand a chance against the welfare system
because everything is run by Black people.
seeks injunctive relief in the form of a federal
investigation, criminal charges brought against the alleged
thief, and the firing of WHA employees.
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) 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); Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Collins 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)(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 at 327-28; Wilson v. Rackmill,
878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 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 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 Collins 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
lqbal, 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."