United States District Court, D. Delaware
RICHARD C. HUNT, Plaintiff,
CONNECTIONS COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS, INC., et al, Defendants.
Richard C. Hunt, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
NOREIKA, US. District Judge.
Richard C. Hunt ("Plaintiff), an inmate at the James T.
Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC") in Smyrna,
Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (D.I. 3). Plaintiff appears pro
se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (D.I. 5). The Court proceeds to review and
screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)
and § 1915A(a).
complaint, Plaintiff named numerous medical defendants,
including the Delaware Department of Correction's
contract medical provider, several physicians, and a nurse
practitioner (collectively, "Defendants").
Plaintiff complains of a "chain of events"
beginning in October 2013 and ending in September 2014 when
he was rushed to an outside hospital and underwent an
emergency splenectomy. Plaintiff alleges Defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in
violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
He seeks injunctive relief, and compensatory and punitive
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and § l9l5A(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. § 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
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. §
l9l5(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 U.S. at 327-28; see also
Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989);
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
§ 1915 A(b)(1) is identical to the legal standard used
when deciding Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 1915 A, 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." BellAtl. Corp. v.
Twombty, 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 7 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 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.
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.
Court finds that dismissal is appropriate here because the
claims are time-barred. For purposes of the statute of
limitations, § 1983 claims are characterized as personal
injury actions. Wilson v. Garcia,471 U.S. 261, 275
(1985). In Delaware, § 1983 claims are subject to a
two-year limitations period. See 10 Del. C. §
8119; Johnson v. Cullen,925 F.Supp. 244, 248 (D.
Del. 1996). Section 1983 claims accrue "when the
plaintiff knew or should have known ...