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Jones v. Kent County Superior Court

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 3, 2018


          Matthew Jones, Greenwood, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.



         Plaintiff Matthew Jones, who appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, filed this action in March 2017 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The matter was transferred to this Court on April 10, 2017. (D.I. 4). Jones asserts jurisdiction by reason of a United States government defendant, a federal question, and diversity. The Court proceeds to screen the Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).[1]


         The Amended Complaint alleges that the matters complained of occurred between February 10, 2017 through February 17, 2017, at Defendant Kent County Superior Court ("Superior Court") and at Defendant Dover Behavioral Health System ("DBH"). (D.I. 17 at 2). Plaintiff alleges that he was deprived of his right to trial, he was not allowed to attend his trial, and he was not allowed to speak or present evidence, all in violation of the Sixth Amendment. (Id.). In this regard, Plaintiff invokes 42 U.S.C. §§ 9501 and § 1985. (Id.). The date of the trial and its outcome are not provided.

         Plaintiff alleges that he was forced to take medication, but the side effects were not discussed with him and he was not provided with literature that explained alternative options, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 95011 (C) i-vi. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges "attempted murder" because he was lethally dosed with medications for diseases that he does not have, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241. (Id. at 3). He alleges that before he left DBH he was given three large daily injections by staff who said that it "should kill [him]" in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1113 and 1117. (Id.). He also alleges, "[W]hile there, [he] was tackled by a group of staff members and punched several times in the face," which resulted in injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 7. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that his "condition was maliciously made. A known falsehood, schizophrenia. Symptoms of the disease were that [Plaintiff] 'delusionally' believe[s] that Linda C. Jones is not [Plaintiff's] birth mother," in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1035. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff alleges that schizophrenia can be detected by a brain scan, but Defendants did not conduct a scan. (Id. at 3). Plaintiff alleges that "on his own," he paid to scan his brain for schizophrenia and other mental illness. (Id.). The results indicate that he has "a disease free and healthy brain." (Id.).

         The Amended Complaint alleges that Defendants refused to release records of Plaintiff's stay, the hearing, or any of Plaintiff's legal or medical records, although the hospital released partial records after Plaintiff paid "hundreds of dollars" for them. (Id.). Possibly in response to the prior dismissal of the Superior Court as a defendant, Plaintiff alleges that the Eleventh Amendment does not apply because he and Defendants are all legal residents of the State of Delaware. He seeks two billion dollars in damages. (Id. at 4).


         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." 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).

         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)(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 U.S. at 327-28; 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 ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions. 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 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).

         Plaintiff proceeds pro se and, therefore, his pleading is liberally construed and his amended complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be granted 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) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In addition, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not be dismissed, however, for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 346.

         When reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, a court should follow a three-step process: (1) consider the elements necessary to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that are merely conclusions and therefore are not well-pleaded factual allegations; and (3) accept any well-pleaded factual allegations as true and determine whether they plausibly state a claim. See Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp.,809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016); Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC,765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014). Deciding whether a claim is plausible ...

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