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Bryant v. Connections Community Service Provider of Delaware

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 30, 2019


          Jonathan Bryant, Wilmington, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Dana Spring Monzo, Esquire, and Karine Sarkisian, Esquire, White and Williams LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant.


          ANDREW, JUDGE

         Plaintiff 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).


         Plaintiff 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. (D.I. 18).

         The 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).

         Connections 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. (Id.).

         On 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.).

         On 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). (Id.).

         On July 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).


         A 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.

         An 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. ...

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