CARIOLA v. SCI CHESTER et al
MEMORANDUM. AN APPROPRIATE ORDER FOLLOWS.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE C. DARNELL JONES, II ON 9/28/17. 9/28/17 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PLFF. (pr, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DI1=YLEODPENNSYLvANIA
'.SEP l 8 I.Ult CIVIL ACTION
KATE BARKMAN Clerk
SCI CHESTER, et al.
Plaintiff Michael Cariola, a prisoner at the Chester County Prison, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on events that took place while he was incarcerated at the
State Correctional Institution at Chester. He seeks to proceed informapauperis. For the
following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss
his complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff filed this civil action against the following defendants: (1) SCI Chester; (2)
Superintendent Lamas; (3) Capt. Eason; (4) Agent Bradly; and (5) PA DOC. He describes the
basis for his lawsuit as follows:
I was charged for possession at SCI Chester and people who help Capt. Eason
[and] Agent Bradley don't get charged. If any crime is committed on their property it
should be prosecuted not choose who they want. I believe it is discriminatory basic
indifference [and] discrimination.
Capt Eason [and] Agent Bradley pulled me into his office and told me if I help
them they will not press charges. If you help they will sweep it under the rug. I
chose not to [and] got charged. If they don't prosecute someone being stab[b]ed
which is a violent crime. Something is wrong.
(Compl. at 3, ~ D.) Based on those allegations, plaintiff asks the Court to direct dismissal of the
charges against him and award him damages.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court grants plaintiff leave to proceed informa pauperis. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the complaint ifit fails to state a
claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the
same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to
determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quotations omitted). Vague and conclusory statements do not suffice to state a claim. Id. As
plaintiff is proceedingpra se, the Court construes his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Atty Gen.,
655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
"To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Initially, plaintiff cannot state a § 1983 claim against SCI Chester and the Pennsylvania
Department of Corrections because those entities are essentially arms of the Commonwealth that
share in the Commonwealth's immunity and are not considered "persons" for purposes of§
1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep't a/State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 65-66 (1989); Lavia v. Pa. Dep't of
Corr., 224 F.3d 190, 195 (3d Cir. 2000).
In any event, it is not clear what constitutional violation plaintiff believes occurred here
because plaintiff provides very little factual information to gi"ve the Court an understanding of
what happened to him. However, if plaintiff was caught with contraband while incarcerated and
charged accordingly-whether in a disciplinary or criminal proceeding-those actions do not,
without more, violate plaintiffs constitutional rights. Additionally, if plaintiff was charged in a
criminal proceeding, this Court may not intervene in that proceeding. See Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971).
Plaintiff generally alleges that he was discriminated against but he does not elaborate on that
allegation. Reading between the lines, it appears that plaintiff is upset that inmates who
cooperate with authorities are given leniency when caught with contraband in comparison with
those who do not cooperate, such as himself. If so, that reality does not plausibly support a
conclusion that plaintiffs constitutional rights were violated. Plaintiff cannot claim that he was
not treated equally as compared to individuals who cooperated with authorities because he is not
similarly situated to those individuals. Phillips v. Cty. ofAllegheny, 515 F .3d 224, 243 (3d Cir.
2008) ("[T]o state a claim for "class of one" equal protection, a plaintiff must at a minimum
allege that he was intentionally treated differently from others similarly situated by the defendant
and that there was no rational basis for such treatment."). Furthermore, prosecutors regularly
cooperate with defendants and grant leniency for that cooperation.
Finally, if plaintiff is bringing claims based on allegations that prison authorities failed to
prosecute other crimes that occurred at the prison, his claims fail because "a private citizen lacks
a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of another." See Linda R.S.
v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973); see also Godfrey v. Pennsylvania, 525 F. App'x 78, 80
n.l (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam) ("[T]here is no federal right to require the government to initiate
criminal proceedings."). While a failure to prosecute another's crime might seem unfair or
frustrating to plaintiff, that failure does not provide plaintiff with a legal basis for a constitutional
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The dismissal is without prejudice to plaintiff filing
an amended complaint in the event he can state a plausible claim. 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?