United States District Court, D. Delaware
Quadrey Salaam-Roane, Howard R. Young Correctional
Institution, Wilmington, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Spring Monzo, Esquire, and Karine Sarkisian, Esquire, White
& Williams, Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for Defendant
Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.
ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge
Quadrey Salaam-Roane, Jr., an inmate at the Howard R. Young
Correctional Institution in Wilmington, Delaware, filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 1).
Plaintiff appears pro se and has been granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 6). Before the
Court is Defendant Connections Community Support Programs,
Inc.'s motion to dismiss. (D.I. 18). Briefing is complete.
Court screened the Complaint on December 28, 2017, and
identified cognizable and non-frivolous claims. (See
D.I. 9). Connections moves to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) on the grounds that the Complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. Connections argues
that, while Plaintiff alleges it should be liable for
deficient policies and customs, Plaintiff has not shown with
factual support an unreasonable risk of harm resulting from
the exiting policy or custom or Connections' awareness of
and deliberate indifference to it. Plaintiff opposes the
motion, contends the Complaint contains "well pleaded
facts" and, in the alternative, he should be permitted
to amend before the Court rules on the motion to amend.
reviewing a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as
true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (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. A court may consider the
pleadings, public record, orders, exhibits attached to the
complaint, and documents incorporated into the complaint by
reference. Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights,
Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion
maybe granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations
in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those
allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to
relief." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 558 (2007).
'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). I am
"not required to credit bald assertions or legal
conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In
re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d
198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed,
however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted." Johnson v. City of
Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014).
complainant must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim
has "substantive plausibility." Id. at
347. That plausibility must be found on the face of the
complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
[complainant] pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the [accused] is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. 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. at
plaintiff relies upon a theory of respondeat superior to hold
a corporation liable, he must allege a policy or custom that
demonstrates such deliberate indifference. Sample v.
Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1110 (3d Cir. 1989); Miller
v. Correctional Med. Sys., Inc., 802 F.Supp. 1126, 1132
(D. Del. 1992). To establish that Defendant is directly
liable for the alleged constitutional violations, Plaintiff
"must provide evidence that there was a relevant
[Connections] policy or custom, and that the policy caused
the constitutional violation[s] [plaintiff] allege[s]."
Natale v. Camden Cty. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 584
(3d Cir. 2003). Because respondeat superior or vicarious
liability cannot be a basis for liability under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, a corporation under contract with the state
cannot be held liable for the acts of its employees and
agents under those theories. Id. Assuming the acts
of Defendant's employees have violated a person's
constitutional rights, those acts may be deemed the result of
a policy or custom of the entity for whom the employee works,
thereby rendering the entity liable under § 1983, where
the inadequacy of existing practice [is] so likely to result
in the violation of constitutional rights that the
policymaker can reasonably be said to have been deliberately
indifferent to the need. See Natale, 318 F.3d at
is made when a decisionmaker possess[ing] final authority to
establish . . . policy with respect to the action issues an
official proclamation, policy or edict.'" Miller
v. Corr. Med. Sys., Inc., 802 F.Supp. 1126, 1132 (D.
Del. 1992) (quoting Andrews v. City of Philadelphia,
895 F.2d 1469, 1480 (3d Cir. 1990)). "Custom, on the
other hand, can be proven by showing that a given course of
conduct, although not specifically endorsed or authorized by
law, is so well-settled and permanent as virtually to
constitute law." Miller, 802 F.Supp. at 1132.
noted above, Connections argues dismissal is appropriate
because the Complaint does not contain the required factual
support of an unreasonable risk of harm resulting from the
existing policy or custom or Connections' awareness of
and deliberate indifference to it. The Complaint was
screened, and I determined that it raised non-frivolous and
cognizable claims. The legal standard used when screening
prisoner cases is identical to the Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal
standard. See Tourscher v. McCullough,184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999). Nothing has changed since the case was
screened. In addition, the Court must liberally construe the
Complaint. In doing so, I find its allegations sufficient to
withstand the instant motion to dismiss. While discovery may