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Walker v. Connections LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

December 11, 2018

MANDEL D. WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNECTIONS LLC, et al., Defendants.

          Mandel D. Walker, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CONNELLY, U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Mandel D. Walker ("Plaintiff"), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC") in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 2). Plaintiff appears pro se and has paid the filing fee. The Court screens and reviews the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).[2]

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff injured himself on February 17, 2018, while playing basketball at the Sussex Correctional Institution ("SCI") gym. (D.I. 2 at 10) Plaintiff has since transferred to the VCC. Following the injury, Plaintiff sought medical care from a variety of medical personnel. (Id. at 10-12) Physical therapy began on May 16, 2108 and, on May 28, 2018, an ultrasound was performed after Plaintiff had submitted a grievance[3]complaining that he had yet to receive the test.

         On May 30, 2018, Plaintiff was notified of the ultrasound results - "the test result is not within normal limits." (Id. at 12) Plaintiff was told he was scheduled to see a physician, but nothing was done despite his repeated sick call slips and filing of grievances. (Id.) On July 12, 2018, provider Dr. Harris scheduled Plaintiff for an MRI and an exam by an orthopedic surgeon. As of the date the complaint was signed, August 20, 2018, Plaintiff had not been called to sick call. (Id. at 12)

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant). 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); 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 v. Pardus, 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. § 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 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 § 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). 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. § 1915A, 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).

         A 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.

         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) assume the veracity of any well-pleaded factual allegations and then determine whether those allegations 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 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.

         III. ...


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