United States District Court, D. Delaware
Jaron Wilson, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Malik Jaron Wilson, an inmate at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 3). Plaintiff appears
pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (D.I. 5). The Court screens and reviews
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)
alleges that he told Defendants Correctional Officers Nelson,
J. Wooleyhan, and Sergeant McKenna that he and inmate Marion
Burroughs had conflict in the past and Plaintiff feared for
his life. On April 17, 2019, and days later after nothing was
done, Plaintiff was attacked by Burroughs and two other
inmates. Plaintiff was punched and both eyes were blackened.
He was sent to "the hole" for being the cause of
the fight. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.
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).
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.
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. Tourscher v.
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.3d103, 114 (3d
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544
(2007). 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
dismissed, however, 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) when there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, assume their veracity and then determine
whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016). 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
as a defendant is the Delaware Department of Correction, an
agency of the State of Delaware. 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.
Thomburgh, 661 F.2d 23, 25 (3d Cir. 1981). Delaware has
not waived its immunity from suit in federal court. Although
Congress can abrogate a state's sovereign immunity, it
did not do so through the enactment of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Brooks-McCollum v. Delaware, 213 Fed.Appx. 92,
94 (3d Cir. 2007). In addition, dismissal is proper because
the DOC is not a person for purposes of § 1983. See
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58,
71(1989); Calhoun v. Young, 288 Fed.Appx. 47 (3d
the Court will dismiss the claims against the DOC pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) and § ...