The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNIS CAVANAUGH, District Judge
Plaintiff, Gabriel Ali, is currently confined at the Central
Reception and Assignment Facility in West Trenton, New Jersey. He
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his
At this time, the Court must review the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A to determine whether it should
be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. For the following reasons, the complaint must be
The following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiff's
Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.
Plaintiff states that while housed at the Tully House, a
"halfway" house, he was working at the Pathmark supermarket and
was charged with theft for allegedly stealing two packages of AA
batteries. Plaintiff states that he did not steal the batteries,
and provides a receipt evidencing that some exchange regarding
batteries was made.*fn1 Defendant Freeman, the supervisor at
the Tully House charged Plaintiff with theft, resulting in
Plaintiff's loss of halfway house status. Plaintiff also seeks to
sue Mr. Fish, a security guard at Pathmark for violating his due
process rights, and for not having a union representative present
during this incident, which resulted in his being fired. He
states that defendant Fish entrapped him.
Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment that his rights were
In 1996, Congress enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act
("PLRA"), Title VIII of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and
Appropriations Act of 1996, Pub.L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321
(April 26, 1996). Congress's purpose in enacting the PLRA was
"primarily to curtail claims brought by prisoners under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Federal Tort Claims Act . . . many of which are
routinely dismissed as legally frivolous." Santana v. United
States, 98 F.3d 752, 755 (3d Cir. 1996). A crucial part of the
congressional plan for curtailing meritless prisoner suits is the
requirement, embodied in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), that a court must
dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, any prisoner actions
that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek
monetary relief from immune defendants.
When determining the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); United States v.
Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). The Court should "accept as
true all of the allegations in the complaint and reasonable
inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff." Morse v. Lower Merion
School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The Court need not, however, lend credit to a pro se plaintiff's "bald
assertions" or "legal conclusions." Id.
A pro se complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a
claim only if it appears "`beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.'" Haines, 404 U.S. at 520 (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); Milhouse v. Carlson,
652 F.2d 371, 373 (3d Cir. 1981).
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for certain violations of his constitutional rights. Section 1983
provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State
or Territory . . . subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other
person within the jurisdiction thereof to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable
to the party injured in an action at law, suit in
equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. . . .
Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the laws or
Constitution of the United States and, second, that the alleged
deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting under
color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42