United States District Court, D. Delaware
GEORGE B. SHAW, Plaintiff,
CONNECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
B. Shaw, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
George B. Shaw ("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. 2) He
appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. (D.I. 6) He requests counsel.
(D.I. 4) The Court proceeds to review and screen the matter
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b) and §
has a history of suicide attempts and being placed on
psychiatric close observation ("PCO"). The
Complaint contains a timeline of events from November 24,
2016 through July 2, 2018 and provides a description of
Plaintiff s interactions with medical personnel and Delaware
Department of Correction ("DOC") personnel. The
Complaint refers to multiple suicide attempts by Plaintiff,
several trips to the hospital, transfers to and from PCO and
other tiers, and the administration of medication. Plaintiff
seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as
compensatory and punitive 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 Or. 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)® and § 1915A(b)(1), a court may
dismiss a complaint as frivolous if it is "based on an
indisputably meridess legal theory" or a "clearly
baseless" or "fantastic or delusional" factual
scenario. Neitzke, 490 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
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 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 and 1915A, the
Court must grant a plaintiff leave to amend his complaint
unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See
Grayson v. Majview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d
complaint may be dismissed only if, accepting die
well-pleaded allegations in die complaint as true and viewing
them in die light most favorable to die plaintiff, a court
concludes that those allegations "could not raise a
claim of entidement to relief." BellAtl. 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." Dam v. Abington
Mem'lHosp., 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 Ashcroftv. 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.
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, the
court should assume their veracity and then 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). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts
in the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is
entitled to relief. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(citing 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 sense." Id.