VAN DAM v. MAINE STATE PRISON
REPORT AND RECOMMENDED DECISION re 1 Complaint. Objections to R&R due by 2/1/2023. By MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOHN C. NIVISON. (MFS)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MAINE
JOSEPH VAN DAM,
MAINE STATE PRISON,
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER
REVIEW OF PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT
Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking reimbursement for
the cost of a television that he maintains was taken from his cell. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.)
Plaintiff’s complaint is subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or … as soon as
practicable after docketing,” because he is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. §
After review of Plaintiff’s complaint, I recommend the Court dismiss the matter.
The § 1915A screening requires courts to “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim …; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
When considering whether a complaint states a claim for which relief may be
granted, courts must assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the
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benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640
F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “The relevant question ...
in assessing plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any particular factual
allegations but, rather, whether ‘the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed in toto
to render plaintiffs’ entitlement to relief plausible.’” Rodríguez–Reyes v. Molina–
Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n. 14).
Although a pro se plaintiff’s complaint is subject to “less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the
complaint may not consist entirely of “conclusory allegations that merely parrot the
relevant legal standard,” Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013).
See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal
standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs “is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are
not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim”).
Plaintiff alleges a television he purchased was taken when he was placed on suicide
watch. (Complaint ¶ IV.) He also alleges that another individual borrowed the television.
(Id.) Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to support a “plausible” federal cause of
action. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. The pleading rules “demand more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). Dismissal, therefore, is warranted.
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Based on the foregoing analysis, after a review of Plaintiff’s complaint in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I recommend the Court dismiss the complaint.
A party may file objections to those specified portions of a magistrate
judge’s report or proposed findings or recommended decisions entered
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the district
court is sought, together with a supporting memorandum, within fourteen
(14) days of being served with a copy thereof.
Failure to file a timely objection shall constitute a waiver of the right
to de novo review by the district court and to appeal the district court’s order.
/s/ John C. Nivison
U.S. Magistrate Judge
Dated this 18th day of January, 2023.
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