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Gamble v. Wilmington Police

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 2, 2018

WAYNE T. GAMBLE, Plaintiff,
v.
WILMINGTON POLICE, et al., Defendants.

          Wayne T. Gamble, Wilmington, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Wayne T. Gamble ("Plaintiff') filed this action on March 9, 2017. (D.L 2) He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4) He asserts jurisdiction by reason of a United States government defendant. The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Named as defendants are the Wilmington Police Department ("Police Department"), W.S.F.S. Bank ("WSFS"), and Citizen's Bank ("Citizen's"). Plaintiff alleges that the Police Department failed to put in his warrant when WSFS stole money from Plaintiffs bank account. The Complaint alleges this occurred in 2012 and is ongoing. Plaintiff alleges that the United States federal court knows about it and that federal agents have witnessed the whole thing. He also alleges that the Police Department broke the law and the F.B.I, sits there and watches. Plaintiff alleges that he is homeless and that someone is trying to kill him. He seeks $899, 000, 000, 000 and property.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A 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." Ballv. 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 apro se plaintiff. See 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, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted).

         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)®, 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; see also 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) is identical to the legal standard used when deciding Rule 12(b)(6) motions. See Tourscherv. 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 a plaintiff leave to amend his complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v. May view State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).

         A complaint may be dismissed only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). Though "detailed factual allegations" are not required, a complaint must do more than simply provide "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Davis v. Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See Williams v. BASF Catalysts LL, C, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Asbcrvft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Finally, 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 for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 346.

         Under 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. See 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. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing 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.

         IV. DISCUSSION

         The Complaint asserts jurisdiction by reason of a federal official or agency, but Plaintiff does not name a federal official or an agency as a defendant. He does, however, attempt to raise a claim against a municipal defendant. Regardless, to the extent Plaintiff intended to raise claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the claims fail. Neither WSFS nor Citizen's are State Actors as is required under § 1983. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S.42, 48 (1988) (when bringing ยง 1983 claim, plaintiff ...


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