United States District Court, D. Delaware
JORDAN O. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
CHRISTOPHER DONALDSON, et al., Defendants.
O. Harris, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Jordan O. Harris ("Plaintiff'), an inmate at the
James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware,
filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 3,
6). 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 matter pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a).
alleges that on July 26, 2016, Defendants were
"conducting an operation in pursuit of fugitive with
warrants." Plaintiff alleges that he was not the
fugitive. Around 11:00 p.m., Plaintiff pulled in front of the
fugitive's house as Defendants arrived in unmarked
vehicles. Defendants Lieutenant Mary McGuire
("McGuire") and Probation Officer Angelo
("Angelo") exited their vehicles and approached
Plaintiff in his vehicle. McGuire began shining a flashlight
in the vehicle. Plaintiff proceeded to the next home and
McGuire and Angelo approached Plaintiff in the same manner.
Plaintiff alleges there was no acknowledgement of police
Plaintiff left the scene, within ten seconds, there was a
"minor pursuit." As Plaintiff pulled into a vacant
area, Defendant Detective Christopher Donaldson
("Donaldson") rammed the back of Plaintiff s
vehicle multiple times. Donaldson ordered Plaintiff to place
his hand out of the window in clear view. Donaldson
approached Plaintiffs vehicle, opened the door, and ordered
the police K-9 Ripper to attack. Ripper bit Plaintiff, pulled
him to the ground, and attacked him as Donaldson repeatedly
told Ripper to "get 'em boy." At some point,
McGuire ordered the assault to stop, and Donaldson restrained
Ripper and carried him back to the patrol car.
sustained numerous injuries and was taken to Milford Memorial
Hospital where he received treatment as instructed by
Defendant Sean O'Leary ("O'Leary"). Later,
Plaintiff was transported to Delaware State Police Troop 3
headquarters. He did not receive any further treatment or
medication for his wounds and injuries while there.
alleges that, with the exception of Angelo, Defendants
O'Leary, Donaldson and Ripper, McGuire, Detectives
Christopher Bumgarner ("Bumgamer"), Robert Daddio
("Daddio"), and Jeff Ballinger
("Ballinger"), Cpl. Robert Costlow
("Costlow"), and Sgt./Lt. Colby Cox
("Cox") were employed by the Delaware State Police
and stationed at Troop 3 Headquarters in Camden, Delaware. He
alleges that all Defendants were "in attendance."
Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and injunctive relief.
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 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
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).
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 U.S. 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
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 Ail. 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 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. BASFCatalysts LLC, 765
F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Ashcrofi 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 ...