United States District Court, D. Delaware
Jonathan Bryant, Wilmington, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Spring Monzo, Esquire, and Karine Sarkisian, Esquire, White
and Williams LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for
Jonathan Bryant was incarcerated when he commenced this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has since been
released. He proceeds pro se and has been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Amended
Complaint was dismissed on July 9, 2019, and Plaintiff was
given leave to amend. (D.I. 75; D.I. 76). Plaintiff filed a
Second Amended Complaint on July 17, 2019, followed by a
clarification letter. (D.I. 77; D.I. 81). The Court screens
and reviews the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a).
commenced this action on July 15, 2016. (D.I. 2). The
original complaint was dismissed upon screening and Plaintiff
was given leave to amend. (D.I. 10; D.I. 11). Upon screening
of the Amended Complaint, the Court identified what appeared
to be cognizable and non-frivolous claims and allowed
Plaintiff to proceed against Defendants Dr. David M. August,
Connections Community Service Provider of Delaware, Dr.
Michelle Markantun, Dr. Mark Richardson, and Ms. Callahan.
United States Marshal Service appeared to have served Dr.
Richardson on May 23, 2017. (D.I. 25). However, Dr.
Richardson and Connections moved to dismiss for insufficiency
of service. (D.I. 29). On January 9, 2018, the Court denied
the motion to dismiss and ordered Connections to provide the
last known address for Dr. Richardson so that he could be
served. (D.I. 36; D.I. 37). The Order provided a date certain
for Connections to provide the address and further ordered
Plaintiff, within twenty-one days from Connections filing the
information, to submit to the Court a complete U.S.
Marshal-285 form as well as a copy of the Amended Complaint
for personal service upon Dr. Richardson. (D.I. 37).
provided the information on January 17, 2018. On January 25,
2018, Plaintiff asked the Court to issue summons for
Connections and provided a copy of the Amended Complaint but
it was not identical to the Amended Complaint found at Docket
Item 16. (D.I. 39). In addition, Plaintiff did not provide
USM-285 forms as ordered by the Court. (Id.).
Plaintiff had been released from prison and his letter
indicated that he did not believe it was necessary for him to
submit the required USM-285 forms. (Id.). Plaintiff
did not request issuance of summons for Dr. Richardson.
March 9, 2018, the Court entered an Order that dismissed Dr.
Richardson and other Defendants for Plaintiff's failure
to request issuance of summonses within the required
time-frame of the Court's January 9, 2018 Order. (D.I.
45). Dr. Richardson and all other Defendants, with the
exception of Connections, were dismissed without prejudice
for Plaintiff's failure to timely serve process as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m). (Id.).
October 10, 2018, Connections, the sole remaining defendant
filed a motion to dismiss. (D.I. 66). On July 9, 2019, the
Court granted the motion to dismiss finding that, as pled,
the Amended Complaint failed to state a viable § 1983
claim against Defendant, noting that that there were no
references of any custom or policy of Defendant that caused
any constitutional violation. (D.I. 75 at 5). Plaintiff was
given leave to amend his pleading to articulate a claim
against Defendant (i.e., Connections).
17, 2019, Plaintiff filed a purported Second Amended
Complaint. (D.I. 77). It alleges that from March 5, 2013
until November 2017, "it is clear that Dr. Mark
Richardson was deliberately indifferent to serious medical
needs." (Id. at 1). The Second Amended
Complaint also alleges that Dr. Richardson "performed
practices" that "were negligent to [Plaintiffs]
medical needs" and that those practices "fell under
the customs or policy of Connections." (Id. at
2). Given the lack of clarity regarding the Defendants,
Connections sought clarification on how to proceed. (D.I.
79). Plaintiff then advised the Court that "the factual
allegations against Defendants are set forth in my December
21, 2016 Amended Complaint, which is incorporated in [the]
July 17, 2019 Second Amended Complaint." (D.I. 81 at
1-2). Plaintiff further states, "These pleadings include
factual allegations that Dr. Richardson was deliberately
indifferent to my serious medical needs. Therefore, the
pleadings adequately state claims against both Dr. Richardson
and Connections. (Id. 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).
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. ...