United States District Court, D. Delaware
ANTHONY A. NASH, Plaintiff,
KOLAWOLE AKINBAYO, et al., Defendants.
plaintiff, Anthony A. Nash ("Nash"), an inmate at
the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution
("HRYCI") in Wilmington, Delaware, filed this
lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and
1986 and 18 U.S.C. § 241, alleging violations of his
constitutional rights. (D.I. 1.) He appears prose
and was granted permission to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
submitted a grievance which resulted in an informal
resolution on February 12, 2016. Nash considers the informal
resolution a contract among himself, the State of Delaware
and the HRYCI. Nash alleges that the HRYCI Classification
Department agreed that it would not classify Nash into the
dormitory setting of the Key Program.
October 4, 2016, Nash filed a civil rights action ("2016
action") against the defendant Connections CSP, Inc.
("Connections"), several Connections employees, and
three Delaware Department of Correction ("DOC")
employees. On December 19, 2017, this court denied a motion
to dismiss filed by Connections and its employees in the 2016
action. On February 16, 2018, Nash was classified to minimum
security level. On February 23, 2018, the Institutional Based
Classification Committee ("IBCC") removed
Nash's work status. Nash alleges that on February 23,
2018 the defendants conspired and intentionally breached his
contract with the State of Delaware. He alleges they
retaliated against him because the action taken against him
occurred just a few days after he received discovery in the
February 27, 2018, Nash was removed from the jail honor pod
and, on March 1, 2018, transferred to a transition pod. On
March 6, 2018, Nash received his classification notification
that his work status was removed, and he was classified to
"Key North." Nash alleges his classification to Key
North violated his right to due process, and the defendants
exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical
needs when they placed him in a dorm with the intent to cause
serious physical injury.
alleges that the defendant Warden Kolawole Akinbayo
("Akinbayo") knew of his claims because Nash
reached out to the warden by letter, grievances, and an
appeal, but Akinbayo completely ignored him. Nash also
alleges that Akinbayo has veto power of all classification
March 6, 2018, Nash submitted a grievance asking why the
informal resolution was not being enforced. Nash alleges that
the defendant Cpl. Grose ("Grose") assured him the
informal resolution would be enforced. Grose contacted Mental
Health about the issue. Nash alleges that Grose had a duty to
enforce all prior grievances, but he did not.
who was in the prison infirmary, was seen by the defendant
Dr. David M. August ("Dr. August") on March 7,
2017. Nash alleges that the visit lasted only two minutes and
that Dr. August told Nash that, "because you don't
take meds, Mental Health cannot help you." Nash states
that he does take not medication for his diagnosed
agoraphobia and panic disorder because they make him tired or
"zombie-like." Nash alleges that Dr. August
conspired with the defendants in the 2016 action in an
attempt to hurt him mentally and physically. Nash alleges
that all the defendants conspired and retaliated against him
for seeking redress from the courts, and they are
collectively deliberately indifferent to his serious medical
needs because they "intentionally breach[ed] their
contract  with the intent to do harm."
runs or manages the Key Program. Plaintiff alleges that the
State of Delaware and/or Connections intentionally used the
Key Program as a weapon to deter or harm inmates. Nash was
moved to Dormitory One of the Key North Program on March 20,
2018. He alleges that he was threatened with "the
hole" and loss of good time if he did not sign the
papers "to do the Key Program." He seeks
compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive
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 &pro se plaintiff.
Phillips v. Country of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229
(3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007). Because Nash 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 § l9l5A(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 § l9l5(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 Nash 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 ...