United States District Court, D. Delaware
AARON L. HENRY, Plaintiff,
WARDEN DAVID PIERCE, et al., Defendants.
plaintiff, Aaron L. Henry ("Henry"), an inmate at
the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC"),
Smyrna, Delaware, filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983.' (D.I. 1, 9, 10.) Henry appears pro
se and was granted permission to proceed in
forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (D.I.
4.) The court reviewed and screened the original complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and §
1915A(b)(1), dismissed it, and gave Henry leave to amend. An
amended complaint was filed on July 18, 2017. (D.I. 14.) The
court proceeds to review and screen the amended complaint.
has medical and mental health conditions. In the original
complaint, Henry alleged that, since December 2015, his
condition worsened, he is denied medical and mental health
care, and his conditions continue to worsen. He also alleged
that he was housed in isolation despite his mental health
condition and, while housed in isolation, he receives no care
or treatment. A 'When bringing a § 1983 claim, a
plaintiff must allege that some person has deprived him of a
federal right, and that the person who caused the deprivation
acted under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 48 (1988).supplement to the complaint alleges that
on May 4, 2017, Henry had a PTSD breakdown and it was 72
hours before he was seen by the defendant Dr. Paola Munoz
("Dr. Munoz"), and then he remained in isolation
for twelve days without mental health treatment. Henry also
complains of the cell conditions during the time he was
housed in isolation.
amendment, Henry produced a number of grievances seeking
medical treatment. (D.I. 13.) He alleges that: (1) he was
deprived of a germ-free environment and ventilation; (2) he
was treated like a caged animal with a mental problem; (3)
there was a three-day delay in receiving mental health
treatment; and (4) he was forced to strip naked in front of
female mental health personnel.
seeks prompt medical and mental health care, a transfer to
the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution where he
received proper medical care, and compensatory damages.
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. § 1915 A (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
Henry 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." Ehckson 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, 61 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 Henry 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.
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."
complains of the failure to provide him proper medical and
mental health treatment as well as the conditions under which
he was housed while in isolation. Similar to the original
complaint, the amended ...