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Spann v. Lacroce

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 11, 2015

ROBERT SPANN, Plaintiff,
v.
MS. LACROCE, Defendant.

Robert Spann, Bridgeton, NJ, Plaintiff Pro se.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Robert Spann, an inmate currently confined at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On April 1, 2015, the Court granted Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis and noted that summons would not issue until such time as the Court completed its sua sponte screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B).

The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint and, for the reasons set forth below, the Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's Complaint is premised upon the assertion that he was fired from his prison job at South Woods State Prison because he refused to cut his hair. No other factual information regarding the circumstances of his termination is provided and it is unclear in what capacity he was employed. Plaintiff indicates that Ms. Lacroce, whom Plaintiff explains is a "psychiatric employer for state, " told Plaintiff that he must cut his hair or he could not "work in her department anymore[.]" (Compl. 4-5, ECF No. 1). Plaintiff then alleges that Ms. Lacroce violated his rights by "being very personal and bias prejudice, conflict of interest, sadistically, cruel, and intertained [sic] role of discrimination." (Compl. 5, ECF No. 1). Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $600, 000.00.

II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

Every complaint must comply with the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted).

While a complaint... does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the "grounds" of his "entitle[ment] to relief" requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level....

Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted).

That is, a complaint must assert "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows 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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The determination of whether the factual allegations plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.'" Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d 352, 365 (3d Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). Thus, a court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, " and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations omitted).

In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to accept its factual allegations as true, see James v. City of Wilkes-Barre, 700 F.3d 675, 679 (3d Cir. 2012), and to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992).

In general, where a complaint subject to statutory screening can be remedied by amendment, a district court should not dismiss the complaint with prejudice, but should permit the amendment. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34 (1992); Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002) (noting that leave to amend should be granted "in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, unfair prejudice, or futility of amendment"), cited in Thomaston v. ...


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