United States District Court, D. Delaware
Matthew Jones, Greenwood, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge:
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). The
Court screened the Amended Complaint, dismissed it, and gave
Jones leave to amend. A Second Amended Complaint was filed on
October 11, 2018 asserting jurisdiction by reason of a
federal question and federal diversity. (D.I. 23). The Court
now proceeds to screen the Second Amended Complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Second Amended Complaint alleges the matters complained of
occurred between February 10, 2017 through February 22, 2017
and is raised against Defendants Dover Behavioral Health
System and Dr. A.M. Shah (who is not mentioned in the Second
Amended Complaint other than naming him as a
party). On January 31, 2017, Plaintiff's
mother called Recovery Innovations and the Delaware State
Police to take Plaintiff for a psych evaluation. (D.I. 23 at
3). Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested and held at
Nanticoke Hospital for over twelve hours. (Id. at
4). He was transported to Recovery Innovations after his hold
at Nanticoke expired. (Id.). There, Jones was
diagnosed with schizophrenia. (Id.). Jones was held
at Recovery Innovations for almost 24 hours and transferred
to Dover Behavioral Health. (Id.). Jones alleges he
was involuntarily held there under February 22, 2017.
alleges that two hearings were held at the Kent County
Superior Court while he was at Dover Behavioral Health, that
he was unable to attend the hearings, and that they were
therefore held with him in absentia. (Id.). The
hearings found Jones "under Court Order to continue
treatment for Schizophrenia, take medications and see a
Psychiatrist." (Id.) Jones states, "There
are no Doctors or Court Personnel locally. All are
represented by Identity Thieves who normally do not age. Many
have shabby, unbelievable names." (Id.).
alleges violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1035 (false statements
relating to health care matters), and Claim II alleges
violations of 18 U.S.C. § 7 (assaults). (Id. at
6). The Second Amended Complaint also contains a litany of
other federal criminal statutes referred to as "Crimes,
Counts, Titles, Laws, Broke, Cited." (Id. at
7-9). In other words, all claims are raised under federal
criminal statutes. Jones seeks two billion dollars in
damages. (Id. at 10).
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).
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).
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. 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. § 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).
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.'" Daw's 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.
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 ...