CAMERON v. PA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS S.C.I. GREENE
ORDER re 7 Complaint and directing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order as more fully described herein. Signed by Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan on August 15, 2017. (kcc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DARYL E. CAMERON,
PA DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS S.C.I. GREENE,
Civil Action No. 17 – 816
Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan
After reviewing Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Court finds that it does not comply with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and therefore it is necessary for Plaintiff to file an amended
complaint that is in compliance with the Rules and the following instructions.
Instructions for Filing an Amended Complaint
Caption and Heading
Plaintiff must place his full name at the top of the amended complaint. Plaintiff must
also add the names of each defendant. Plaintiff must name as defendants only those persons
who are responsible for the alleged constitutional violation(s). 1
Plaintiff must show personal involvement in the alleged wrongdoing by each defendant.
See Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1988) (“A defendant in a civil rights
action must have personal involvement in the alleged wrongs”). Plaintiff should also be aware
that the “PA. Commonwealth DOC SCI Greene Mental Health Unit” is not a proper defendant,
as it is not a “person” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff must inform the Court why the case should be heard in federal court rather than
state court or some other forum. If Plaintiff’s action is generally one for a violation of civil
rights, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 will normally be the basis for the claim. In order for Plaintiff’s action to
be heard in federal court under Section 1983, he must be able to show that the defendant(s), at
the time of the claims alleged in the amended complaint, were acting under the authority or color
of state law.
As the person initiating the lawsuit, Plaintiff must identify himself as such. Also, for
each defendant named in the amended complaint, Plaintiff should list their current address and
description of their employment. In addition, Plaintiff should explain briefly how or in what
capacity each defendant acted under authority given to them by state or local government. 2
Statement of Claim
Plaintiff must state what rights under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States have been violated. It is improper for Plaintiff to merely list constitutional rights or
federal rights. Plaintiff must provide a description of how the defendant(s) violated his rights.
Plaintiff should be aware that neither the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections nor SCIGreene are proper defendants. They are state agencies that are not “persons” within the meaning
of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Furthermore, the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution bars claims for damages
against state agencies. See Lavia v. Pennsylvania, Dept. of Corrections, 224 F.3d 190, 195 (3d
Cir. 2000) (“Because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is a part
of the executive department of the Commonwealth, see Pa. Stat.Ann., tit. 71 § 61, it shares in the
Commonwealth’s Eleventh Amendment immunity.”) Therefore, in amending Plaintiff should
not name these agencies as defendants.
Statement of Facts
Plaintiff must provide specific details of precisely how his civil rights were allegedly
violated. Plaintiff should note that, in civil rights cases, more than conclusory and vague
allegations are required to state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff should
clearly describe how each named defendant is involved in the alleged constitution violation(s).
This description should include references to relevant dates, times, and locations. It should
explain to the Court what happened by specifically describing each defendant’s behavior or
action and how that behavior or action – or lack of action – resulted in the alleged violations.
Plaintiff should not include legal argument in his amended complaint. Citations to case law and
other statutes are not appropriate in the complaint, but rather may be included in a response to a
dispositive motion or at the time of trial. However, Plaintiff should be specific about the
particulars of the event, each defendant’s misconduct, and how such misconduct resulted in a
violation or denial of the civil right at issue.
Where the amended complaint includes more than one incident, Plaintiff should clearly
distinguish between them by preparing a separate description – usually a paragraph – for each
incident. Each incident should be identified as a separate count, and each count must include
appropriate facts and evidence in support of the claims made in the count. Each incident must be
clearly and specifically described; it should include the relevant time, date, and location. Each
incident description also should clearly identify the relevant defendant and what that defendant’s
role was in the incident.
NOTE: THIS SECTION SHOULD NOT JUST BE A CHRONOLOGIAL LIST OF
DATES WITH DESCRIPTIONS AS TO WHAT HAPPENED TO PLAINTIFF ON EACH
Plaintiff must state as specifically as possible the actual injury suffered from the action of
the defendants that resulted in the alleged civil rights violation. Simply stating that his civil
rights have been violated is insufficient.
Plaintiff must alert the Court to any other case in which he was a party that may be
connected with the case he is now filing. Plaintiff should inform the Court of any and all
previously filed cases that include some of the same facts and events he relies on for this case.
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Plaintiff should be aware that under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), he must fully exhaust all
available administrative remedies before pursuing a civil rights complaint concerning prison
Request for Relief
Plaintiff must describe for the Court the relief he is seeking as a result of this lawsuit.
The relief requested must be related specifically to the injury suffered. However, Plaintiff should
be aware that 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e) limits a prisoner’s ability to pursue a federal civil action for
mental or emotional injuries suffered while in custody.
Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury
Plaintiff must sign his amended complaint and file it with the Clerk of the Court. When
doing so, Plaintiff is making a declaration under law to the Court that everything in the amended
complaint is true. Plaintiff should realize that the Court can order sanctions or penalties for the
filing of complaints and pleadings that are frivolous, without merit, based on false or misleading
information, etc. These sanctions or penalties can take many forms including, but not limited to,
dismissing the case, assessing fines, and limiting Plaintiff’s filing privileges in federal court.
AND NOW, this 15th day of August, 2017;
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff shall amend his complaint as described herein
and file it with the Court within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff shall
clearly mark his complaint “Amended Complaint”. The amended complaint must include all of
Plaintiff’s claims in this action and should not refer back to the original complaint. If Plaintiff
fails to comply with this Order then the undersigned will recommend that this action be
dismissed for his failure to prosecute.
/s/ Lisa Pupo Lenihan
Lisa Pupo Lenihan
United States Magistrate Judge
cc: Daryl E. Cameron
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
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