DeJesus v. Wright
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 3/17/14. (cla, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
DAVID DEJESUS, SR.,
Civ. No. 13-003-LPS
BERLINETTA J. WRIGHT,
David DeJesus, Sr., Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
March 17, 2014
PlaintiffDavid DeJesus ("Plaintiff') filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging violations of his constitutional rights. 1 Plaintiff, an inmate, is housed at the Sussex
Correctional Institution ("SCI") in Georgetown, Delaware. He appears pro se and has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4) The Court proceeds to review and screen
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and§ 1915A.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Berlinetta J. Wright ("Wright"), an employee of the
Delaware Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, has not done anything for him.
While not clear, it appears that Plaintiffs child was removed from the custodial home. Plaintiff
wants Wright removed from the case and replaced with "someone who will do her job and go to
[his] sister who wants [his] daughter." Plaintiff wants "his baby" and he has "a court order that
[he] can be with his children."
This Court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, certain in forma pauperis and
prisoner actions that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (informapauperis
actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from governmental
defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). The
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that some person has deprived him
of a federal right and that the person who caused the deprivation acted under color of state law.
See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most
favorable to a prose plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007); Phillips v.
County ofAllegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008). Because Plaintiff proceeds prose, 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
(internal quotation marks omitted).
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)(l), 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 at 32728; 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
inmate's pen and refused to give it back).
The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and§ 1915A(b)(l) is identical to the legal standard used when ruling on Rule
12(b)(6) motions. See 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 of28 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 Hasp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).
A 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). When
determining whether dismissal is appropriate, the Court conducts a two-part analysis. See
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203,210 (3d Cir. 2009). First, the factual and legal
elements of a claim are separated. See id. The Court must accept all ofthe complaint's wellpleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. See id. at 210-11. The
assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or to "[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Second, the Court must determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to
show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Fowler, 578 F.3d at 211. In other
words, the complaint must do more than allege the plaintiffs entitlement to relief; rather, it must
"show" such an entitlement with its facts. !d. A claim is facially plausible when its factual
content allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The plausibility standard "asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." !d. "Where a complaint pleads facts
that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief."' !d. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
A civil rights complaint must state the conduct, time, place, and persons responsible for
the alleged civil rights violations. See Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 353 (3d Cir. 2005). The
sparse allegations in the complaint do not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Plaintiff
provides no specific facts that describe how Defendant allegedly violated his constitutional
rights. Nor does the complaint indicate where or when the alleged constitutional violations
occurred. The complaint, as it now stands, fails to meet the pleading requirements of Iqbal and
Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and§ 1915A(b)(l). However,
since it appears plausible that Plaintiff may be able to articulate a claim against the defendant (or
name alternative defendants), he will be given an opportunity to amend his pleading. See 0 'Dell
v. United States Gov 't, 256 F. App'x 444 (3d Cir. Dec. 6, 2007) (leave to amend is proper where
the plaintiffs claims do not appear "patently meritless and beyond all hope of redemption").
For the above reasons, the Court will dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and§ 1915A(b)(l).
Plaintiff will be given leave to file an Amended Complaint.
An appropriate Order follows.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?