United States District Court, D. Delaware
Jermaine Layton Carter, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center,
Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
CONNOLLY, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Jermaine Layton Carter ("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. 1) He appears pro se and
has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
(D.I. 10) The Court dismissed the original Complaint and gave
Plaintiff leave to amend. The Court proceeds to review and
screen the Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a). (D.I. 17)
original complaint alleged that a "body device" was
used on Plaintiff that causes him medical and emotional
problems. (D.I. 1) The "body device" was not
described and the Court was unable to discern from the
Complaint exactly what it is. As alleged, Defendant Marc
Richman is the Healthcare Services Bureau Chief and Steven
Wesley is the Bureau of Prisons Bureau Chief. Defendants were
dismissed as the claims against them rested impermissibly
under a theory of respondeat superior liability. Given the
lack of clarity in the allegations and Plaintiff's
pro se status the Complaint was dismissed and
Plaintiff was given an opportunity to file an amended
Amended Complaint rests on the allegations of the original
complaint, but amends paragraph 14 of the original complaint.
(D.I. 17) The original Paragraph 14 states, "I sue each
of Defendants in this case in official capacity." (D.I.
1 at ¶ 14) The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff
exhausted his remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act
and the final remedy is the responsibility of Wesley or
Richman according to Grievance Policy 4.4 (D.I. 17 at 1) It
further alleges that the "personal involvement of both
Bureau Chiefs was when [Plaintiff] exhausted his remedies in
which a policy of what they are responsible for."
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that since he exhausted his
remedies the Bureau Chiefs are now responsible "to come
up with a new policy for whatever body device" and
"no one else can change the policy now" but
Defendants. (Id. at 2)
seeks injunctive relief and a "safe new policy for the
use of any body device" and for Defendants "to show
how they enforce the policy at government meetings."
(D.I. 1 at 9; D.I. 5 at 2)
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 pro se plaintiff. 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
v. Pardus, 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; 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) and §
1915A(b)(1) 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 and 1915A,
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).
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." Daw's 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, 574 U.S. 10 (2014). A
complaint may not be dismissed for imperfect statements of
the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See
Id. at 10.
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) assume the veracity of any
well-pleaded factual allegations and then determine whether
those allegations plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief. Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp.,809 F.3d 780,
787 (3d Cir. 2016) (internal citations and quotations
omitted). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts in
the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is entitled
to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting