United States District Court, D. Delaware
MATTHEW N.P. JONES, Plaintiff,
DELAWARE STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS, Defendant.
Matthew N.P. 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 on September 5, 2018. (D.I. 2). He appears
pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. He asserts jurisdiction by reason of a
federal question and a federal defendant. The Court
proceeds to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
alleges the events complained of occurred between 2010 and
2018. No specific dates are provided. Plaintiff alleges that
he has been stopped on numerous occasions without cause and
forced to wait while dogs arrived to assist in searching his
car. He was stopped and asked to take a breathalyzer test.
When he passed, Plaintiff was taken to the police station and
required to submit to a blood test or be charged with a DUI.
Plaintiff has never been charged with a DUI. Plaintiff
alleges that during the stops, his vehicle was often towed
even though no charges were filed. On one occasion, he was
followed for over twenty miles by a Delaware State Police
time, a State Police officer persuaded a female to pursue a
sex offender allegation against Plaintiff. Plaintiff was
charged and arrested. The case was nolle prossed. Finally,
Plaintiff alleges that he was raped by the Troop 7 Police at
different times during his childhood. Plaintiff seeks ten
billion dollars in damages.
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. Tourscherv. 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 will be a
"context-specific task that requires the reviewing court
to draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
Delaware State Police is immune from suit. The Eleventh
Amendment protects states and their agencies and departments
from suit in federal court regardless of the kind of relief
sought. Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v.
Halderman,465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). "Absent a
state's consent, the Eleventh Amendment bars a civil
rights suit in federal court that names the state as a
defendant." Laskaris v. Thornburgh, 661 F.2d
23, 25 (3d Cir. 1981) (citing Alabama v. Pugh, 438
U.S. 781 (1978)). Delaware has not waived its immunity from
suit in federal court; although Congress can abrogate a