United States District Court, D. Delaware
Conaway, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
CONNOLLY, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert Conaway ("Plaintiff"), an inmate at the
James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, "(JTVCC") in
Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (D.I. 3) Plaintiff appears prose
and has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (D.I. 5) The Court proceeds to review and
screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)
and § 1915A(a).
alleges that he began to experience unusual medical problems
on February 11, 2018. (D.I. 3 at 4) Plaintiff was seen by
health care provider Defendant Sheri L. McAfee-Garner
("McAfee-Garner") on May 15, 2018, after undergoing
medical testing and was told his condition was "probably
Zinker's Diverticulum." (Id.) Plaintiff was
told that other than a special diet there was no significant
treatment for the condition or none that the Delaware
Department of Correction ("DOC") was "willing
to approve financially." (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges that McAfee-Garner "has been responsible for all
of plaintiffs [sic] care." (Id.) Plaintiff was
seen by an outside specialist in April 2018 and tested
positive for an esophageal diverticulum. (Id.)
submitted a grievance on May 21, 2018. (Id. at 5) At
Level one, Defendant L.P.N. Amanda L Dean ("Dean")
provided Plaintiff diet education. (Id.) At Level
Two, Defendants L.P.N. Beth E. Bittner ("Bittner"),
D.O.N. Christina Spanos ("Spanos"), and R.N.
Beverly Trout ("Trout") denied Plaintiffs
grievance. (Id.) Appeal of Level Two reads,
"Uphold Recommend Grievant be seen by a higher level of
care (Site Medical Director) for a diagnostic treatment
plan." (Id.) Defendant Matthew Wofford
("Wofford") is the JTVCC Site Director. Next,
Defendant Bureau Chief Marc Richman ("Richman")
upheld Plaintiffs grievance and recommended Plaintiff
"be seen by a higher level of care ... for a diagnostic
treatment plan." (Id. at 6)
alleges that, to date, he has not received treatment nor been
provided a medical diet. (Id. at 4-6) He alleges
that "they" notified him of other cures for his
condition, but they blame Defendant Warden Dana Metzger
("Metzger") for "not [being] willing to pay
for the treatment needed." (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges that he continues to suffer. He seeks compensatory
damages and injunctive relief. (Id. at 9)
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. 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
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 Rule 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)). However, before
dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted pursuant to the screening
provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§1915 and 1915A, 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." Daws 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