United States District Court, D. Delaware
Parkell, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Donald Parkell ("Plaintiff), an inmate at the James T.
Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC") in Smyrna,
Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging violations of his constitutional
rights. (D.I. 10) 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 Amended
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and §
1915A(a). Also before the Court is Plaintiffs motion
for injunctive relief. (D.I. 11)
alleges that after he was issued disciplinary reports,
Defendants Tina Linsey ("Linsey"), John Amado
("Amado"), and Johnny Suarez ("Suarez")
imposed sanctions of 24 hour loss of all privileges and a 24
hour period of cell confinement. The sanctions were imposed
on April 10, 2015, July 8 and 15, 2015, and August 14, 2015.
Plaintiff alleges the punishments were arbitrary and afforded
Defendants carte blanch to abuse their authority without any
means for Plaintiff to challenge the accusations. Plaintiff
alleges Defendants' actions violated his right to due
process. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that former VCC
warden David Pierce violated his right to due process by
maintaining the policy that gave Linsey, Amado, and Suarez
the ability to arbitrarily issue 24 hour sanctions.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under die screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) if "die 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.
Eamiglio, 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 governmental defendant); 42
U.S.C. § l997e (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. 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).
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; see also
Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989);
Deutsch v. United States, 67 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
deciding Rule 12(b)(6) motions. See 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 a plaintiff 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).
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." Bell Atl. 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 LLC, 765 F.3d 306,
315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Ashcroft p. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Twmbly, 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.
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 entided 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 entidement to relief. See
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016). Elements are sufficiendy alleged when the facts
in the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is
entided 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.