Mendez v. Patterson et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 5/21/14. (cla, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
IV AN L. MENDEZ,
Civ. No. 13-1138-LPS
JENNIFER PATTERSON, et aI.,
Ivan L. Mendez, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
May .f..-I , 2014
ST ARK, U.S. District Judge:
Plaintifflvan Mendez ("Plaintiff'), filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.c. § 1983 alleging
violations of his constitutional rights. I Plaintiff is incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center ("VCC") in Smyrna, Delaware. He appears pro se and has been granted
leave to proceed informa pauperis. (D'!.6) The Court reviewed, screened, and dismissed the
original Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 19I5A, and gave Plaintiff leave to
amend. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on March 24, 2014. (D.I. 10) He recently filed a
motion for an extension of time and request for a complaint form. (D.I. 11)
Plaintiff has numerous health problems, including Hepatitis C, internal bleeding, rectal
bleeding, and heart disease, and he weighs less than 200 pounds. In the original Complaint,
Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Jennifer Patterson ("Patterson"), a medical provider at the VCC,
denied him a high calorie diet and/or double portions, pain medication, medication, and the
appropriate medication. The claims against Patterson were dismissed because the Complaint did
not contain allegations that Patterson acted with deliberate indifference or indicate when or
where the alleged constitutional violations took place.
The Amended Complaint discusses Plaintiffs criminal conviction, and his desire for
extradition to Mexico.
lPursuant 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).
This Court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, certain informa 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) (in forma pauperis
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
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 Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,93 (2007); Phillips v.
County ofAllegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his
pleading is liberally construed and his Amended 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 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
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)(1) 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 H05p., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cif. 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 Cif. 2009). First, the factual and legal
elements ofa claim are separated. See id. The Court must accept all of the complaint's well·
pleaded 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. Id. 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." Id. "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. '" Jd. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
The Amended Complaint contains no allegations directed to Patterson with regard to
denial of medical care. Like the original complaint, the Amended Complaint contains no
allegations Patterson acted with deliberate indifference. Nor does the complaint indicate when or
where the alleged constitutional violations took place. A civil rights complaint must state the
conduct, time, place, and persons responsible for the alleged civil rights violations. Evancho v.
Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 353 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Boykins v. Ambridge Area Sch. Disl., 621 F.2d
75,80 (3d Cir. 1980); Hall v. Pennsylvania State Police, 570 F.2d 86, 89 (3d Cir. 1978». The
Amended Complaint contains fewer allegations directed toward Patterson than the original
Therefore, the Court will dismiss the claims against Patterson as frivolous pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § ] 915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915(A)(b)(1).
For the above reasons, the Court will deny as moot Plaintiffs motion for an extension of
time and request for a complaint form (DJ. 11) and will dismiss the Amended Complaint (DJ.
10) as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.c. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915A(b)(1). Plaintiff was given
an opportunity to cure his pleading defects, to no avail. Because Plaintiff made no attempt to
remedy the defects in his Amended Complaint, despite notice and his familiarity with the
pleading requirements, granting him an opportunity to amend his complaint would be futile.
Jones v. Camden City Bd ofEduc., 499 F. App'x 127, 129 (3d Cir. Oct. 1,2012) (citing Grayson
v. Afayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d at 108 and Fornan v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
An appropriate Order follows.
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