United States District Court, D. Delaware
ROBERT R. BISHOP, Plaintiff,
SONJA T.WILSON, Defendant.
R. Bishop, Millsboro, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
CONNOLLY, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert R. Bishop ("Plaintiff") filed this action
asserting jurisdiction by reason of a federal question. (D.I.
3) He appears pro se and has been granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 6) The Court
proceeds to review and screen the matter pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b). Although she has not been
served, Defendant Sonja T. Wilson ("Defendant") has
filed a motion to dismiss. (D.I. 7)
alleges that Defendant, a Family Court Commissioner in and
for Sussex County, Delaware, trespassed on his property on
December 13, 2018. (D.I. 3 at 4) The Complaint states that
Defendant is "administrating property without
authorization and without authority." (id. at
9) Plaintiff wishes to have his "property restored back
to whole again immediately." (Id.)
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. 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), 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) is
identical to the legal standard used when deciding Rule
12(b)(6) motions. See Tourscherv. 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, 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, 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
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). 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
claim fails because judges are absolutely immune from suits
for monetary damages and such immunity cannot be overcome by
allegations of bad faith or malice. Mireles v. Waco,502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991). Commissioners of the Family Court are
entitled to judicial immunity because they perform most of
the same functions as a Family Court judge. Joynes v.
Meconi, 2006 WL 2819762, at n.4 (D. Del. Sept. 30, 2006)
(citing 10 Del. C. § 915(c) (each Commissioner appointed
by the Governor shall have, among other things, the power to:
(1) hear any civil case within the jurisdiction of the Family
Court; (2) order the issuance of legal process to compel the
attendance of necessary parties and witnesses; (3) administer
oaths and ...