Jolley v. State of Delaware, et al.
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Sue L. Robinson on 11/22/2016. (jcs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
RICHARD A. JOLLEY,
STATE OF DELAWARE and NEW
CASTLE COUNTY POLICE,
) Civ. No. 16-663-SLR
1. Introduction. Plaintiff Richard A. Jolley ("plaintiff") proceeds pro se and has
been granted in forma pauperis status. He commenced this action on August 3,2016.
(D.1. 3) The original complaint was dismissed as "it [did] not state anything resembling
a claim upon which relief can be based," and plaintiff was given leave to amend. (See
D.1. 5) An amended complaint was filed on August 4,2016. (D.1. 7)
2. Standard of Review. A 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. 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 (citations omitted).
3. 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)(8)(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 at 327-28; Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989).
4. The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim
pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(8)(ii) is identical to the legal standard used when ruling on
Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Tourscherv. 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)(8». 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 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).
5. A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell At!. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544 (2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has
substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, _U.S._, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347
(2014). A complaint may not dismissed, however, for imperfect statements of the legal
theory supporting the claim asserted. See id. at 346.
6. Under 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, the court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (internal citations and
quotations omitted). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts in the complaint
"show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting 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 sense." Id.
7. Discussion. Plaintiff's's conclusory allegations do not meet the pleading
requirements of Iqbal and Twombly and are frivolous. After thoroughly reviewing the
complaint, the court draws on its judicial experience and common sense and finds that
the allegations are not plausible on their face. Indeed, tile complaint consists of
fantastical or delusional claims that are clearly baseless and they are insufficient to
withstand this court's evaluation for frivolity dismissal. See Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
8. Because the court finds the allegations of the complaint to be wholly lacking
in both terms of credibility and rationality, the complaint will be dismissed as frivolous
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). In light of the nature of plaintiff's claims, the
court finds that amendment would be futile. See Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229 (3d Cir.
2004); Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 111 (3d Cir. 2002); Borelli v.
City of Reading, 532 F.2d 950, 951-52 (3d Cir. 1976).
9. Conclusion. For the above reasons, the court will dismiss the complaint as
frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Amendment is futile. A separate
order shall issue.
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