United States District Court, D. Delaware
BRADFORD E. WILSON, Plaintiff,
KATHY DEARIE, et al., Defendants.
Bradford E. Wilson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pro Se
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Bradford E. Wilson (“Plaintiff), filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his
constitutional rights under the First, Sixth, and Fourteenth
Amendments of the United States Constitution. (D.I. 2). He
asserts jurisdiction by reason of a federal question and
based upon diversity of citizenship. Plaintiff appears
pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (D.I. 4). The Court proceeds to review and
screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b).
alleges his constitutional rights were violated in October
1995 by the Family Court of the State of Delaware. (D.I. 2 at
5). He explains that he was not present at a hearing that
appears to have been held to address charges of endangering
the welfare of a child. (Id. at 11). Plaintiff
alleges that he was denied the right to confront his accuser,
denied the right to have an attorney present, and denied the
right to free speech. (Id. at 13). Plaintiff alleges
lies were told by the mother's side of the family and, to
this day, his now adult son Bradford M. Wilson has nothing to
do with him. (Id.).
seeks compensatory damages in the sum of two million dollars
per year for every year the child was gone, as well as an
order for Defendant Kathy M. Dearie to put his name on the
child's birth certificate, a DNA test to determine if
Bradford M. Wilson is his son, and removal of the
endangerment welfare of a child charges from his record.
(Id. at 8, 14).
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(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). 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 omitted).
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), 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) is
identical to the legal standard used when deciding Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 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 may be granted pursuant to
the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, 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.” Davis 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.
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, assume
their veracity and 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); see also
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