United States District Court, D. Delaware
KEVIN H. BOONE, Plaintiff,
PROBATION AND PAROLE OF NEW CASTLE COUNTY, DE, et al., Defendants.
H. Boone, Howard R. Young Correctional Institution,
Wilmington, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Kevin H. Boone (“Plaintiff), an inmate at the Howard R.
Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, 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. 8). The Court proceeds to
review and screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a).
the action was commenced, in addition to Plaintiff, Ralph
Lewis Boone, Michelle Louise Boone, and Steven Michael Boone
were named Plaintiffs. Ralph Lewis Boone, Michelle Louise
Boone, and Steven Michael Boone were dismissed as Plaintiffs
on December 11, 2018. (See D.I. 10). The Defendants
are Probation and Parole of New Castle County, Delaware
(“Probation and Parole”), Delaware State Police
Troop (“DSP”), and Probation/Parole Officer Leo
Matkins (“Matkins”). Plaintiff alleges violations
of the Fourth Amendment, perjury, defamation of character,
slander, and withholding personal information and
is a convicted sex offender. The Complaint refers to two
incidents that occurred on separate dates. The first incident
occurred on November 30, 2017, when Matkins determined that
Plaintiff was in violation of his probation, and Plaintiff
was arrested. Multiple probation and DSP officers
subsequently searched Plaintiffs room at his parents'
house. Plaintiff indicates this is the standard operating
procedure after violating a probationer. He alleges that an
orange folder was taken from his bedroom. The bedroom of
Plaintiff s brother, Steven Michael Boone, was also searched
and items were seized. Plaintiff alleges the search of his
brother's bedroom was unconstitutional because it was
searched without the officers first obtaining a search
warrant. Plaintiff alleges that the items taken significantly
hindered his brother's efforts to complete his school
second incident occurred on December 20, 2017, when Plaintiff
alleges that Matkins gave perjured testimony and defamed him
during Plaintiff's violation of probation hearing and
testified that Plaintiff had been assessed a “high risk
to reoffend.” (D.I. 3 at 6). Plaintiff alleges he later
found out that treatment staff rated him as a “moderate
risk to reoffend.” (Id.).
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and the return
of his orange folder. He also seeks the termination or
reprimand of Matkins and the police and probation officers
who searched his parents' residence.
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);
42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect
to prison conditions). The Court must accept all factual
allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light
most favorable to a 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 back).
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 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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)). 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, however, 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 Cir. 2002).
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 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.” Davis v.
Abington Mem'l 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. BASF Catalysts LLC,
765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Ashcroft 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 substantive plausibility.
See Johnson v. City of Shelby, ___ U.S. ___, 135
S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not be dismissed for
imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim
asserted. See id. at 346.
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) when there are well-pleaded factual allegations, assume
their veracity and determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief. See Connelly v. Lane Const.
Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016); see also
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).