SHAHEED v. PETTY et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER indicating as follows: 1 Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is granted; Plaintiff's Complaint (Docket No. 1-1) is dismissed without prejudice to amendment to the extent that Plaintiff is able to state a plausible claim for relief; and, to the extent Plaintiff wishes to file an Amended Complaint, he must do so by 6/5/23, otherwise the case will be closed. See Memorandum Order for further details. Signed by Judge W. Scott Hardy on 5/19/23. (kw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
OMAR SHAWN SHAHEED,
ONIKA TANYA MARAJ PETTY and
ISIS NAIJA GASTON,
Civil Action No. 23-808
Presently before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Omar Shawn Shaheed’s Motion to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis filed on May 12, 2023, (Docket No. 1), along with a proposed Complaint, which
was lodged pending disposition of the IFP Motion. (Docket No. 1-1). After reviewing Plaintiff’s
IFP Motion, the Court finds that he is without sufficient funds to pay the required filing fee. Thus,
Plaintiff will be granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Turning to Plaintiff’s Complaint, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) gives the Court the authority
to screen and dismiss a complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Brown v. Sage, 941 F.3d 655, 659 (3d Cir. 2019). In
analyzing whether a complaint fails to state a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), the Court
applies the same standard governing motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). See Heffley v. Steele, 826 F. App’x 227, 230 (3d Cir. 2020) (citation omitted).
To that end, to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the
well-pleaded factual content in the complaint must allow “the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009), and also “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). When analyzing a motion to dismiss, the
factual allegations should be separated from allegations that merely recite the legal elements of the
claim. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). The well-pleaded facts are
accepted as true, but legal conclusions may be disregarded. Id. at 210-11. Next, a determination
is made as to “whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff
has a ‘plausible claim for relief.’ ” Id. at 211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). This “plausibility”
determination is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Given that Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court liberally construes his Complaint and
employs less stringent standards than when judging the work product of an attorney. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, there are limits to the Court’s procedural flexibility “pro se litigants still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim . . . they
cannot flout procedural rules - they must abide by the same rules that apply to all other litigants.”
Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citations omitted).
A review of Plaintiff’s Complaint indicates that he purports to allege a copyright
infringement claim against the Defendants.1 (See Docket No. 1-1). Plaintiff alleges only the
following in the “Facts” section of the Complaint: “[t]he both of them infringed on my track car
wash by stating keep it a stack on their track princess diana.” (Id.). Plaintiff’s single allegation is
insufficient to plausibly allege a copyright infringement claim. In order to state a claim for
copyright infringement, a plaintiff must allege: “(1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2)
This is verified by Plaintiff’s statement on the accompanying Civil Cover Sheet that he “want[s] to sue for
copyright infringement.” (Docket No. 3 at 1).
copying of constituent elements of the work that are original.” Feist Publ’ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel.
Serv. Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991); see also Dun & Bradstreet Software Servs., Inc. v. Grace
Consulting, Inc., 307 F.3d 197, 206 (3d Cir. 2002). Plaintiff’s Complaint is devoid of any such
In sum, as currently pled, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, and therefore the Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice to
Plaintiff filing an Amended Complaint to the extent that he is able to state a plausible claim for
relief. See e.g., Duglas v. Kamper, Civ. No. 19-3010, 2019 WL 3230931, at *1 (E.D. Pa. July 17,
2019) (after granting in forma pauperis status, the Court “must review the pleadings and dismiss
the matter if it determines that the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails to set forth a proper basis
for this Court’s subject matter jurisdiction.”) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)); Spell v. Allegheny
Cty. Admin., Civ. No. 14-1403, 2015 WL 1321695, at *7 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 24, 2015) (permitting
amendment by pro se plaintiff where “the facts alleged [in the complaint] are simply too vague,
and the theories of liability too poorly articulated” for the Court “to determine whether allowing
[him] to amend . . . would be futile”).
Accordingly, in view of the foregoing, the Court enters the following Order:
AND NOW, this 19th day of May, 2023, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED as follows:
(1) Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Docket No. 1) is
(2) Plaintiff’s Complaint (Docket No. 1-1) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to
amendment by Plaintiff to the extent that he is able to state a plausible claim for relief;
(3) To the extent Plaintiff wishes to file an Amended Complaint, he must do so by June 5,
2023. If Plaintiff fails to file an Amended Complaint by June 5, 2023, the case will be
s/ W. Scott Hardy
W. Scott Hardy
United States District Judge
Omar Shawn Shaheed (via U.S. mail)
620 Sixth Street, Apt. 1003
Braddock, PA 15104
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