United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Keith Hasson Drake, is a state prisoner who is currently
incarcerated at the East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, New
Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a proposed
third amended civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Previously, this Court dismissed Mr.
Drake's other complaints at the screening stage. Upon
dismissing his second amended complaint in March, 2016, this
Court noted that it would give Mr. Drake one final
opportunity to sufficiently state claims in a proposed third
amended petition. Thereafter, Mr. Drake filed a request for
an extension of time to submit a third amended complaint.
(See Dkt. No. 29) Subsequently, Mr. Drake filed his
third amended complaint. (See Dkt. No. 30)
Drake's request to file a third amended complaint beyond
the time-frame that this Court previously allowed will be
granted and the Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case so
that the third amended complaint can be screened. At this
time, this court must review the third amended complaint 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 suit. For the following reasons,
Mr. Drake's federal claims will be dismissed with
prejudice for failure to state a claim and this Court will
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Mr.
Drake's state law claims.
allegations of the third amended complaint will be construed
as true for purposes of this screening opinion. Mr. Drake
names three defendants in the third amended complaint; they
are: (1) Rosellen G. Muniak; (2) Sgt. M. Sheppard; and (3)
Lt. John Doe.
Drake's claims against these three defendants are largely
identical to the claims he brought against these three
defendants in his previous complaints. Mr. Drake's claims
arise while he was incarcerated the South Woods State Prison.
He states that the defendants violated his constitutional
rights by confiscating a computer disk containing his legal
materials that had been loaned to him in September, 2012. The
defendants subsequently read his legal materials contained on
the disk. He received a disciplinary report on September 14,
2012 for being in possession of property belonging to another
inmate. Mr. Drake states that by confiscating his legal disk,
this deprived him of the opportunity to present a past legal
claim. Mr. Drake also alleges that the defendants denied him
the right to legal photocopying services even though he was
willing to pay for the cost of copy of the items that were on
the disk that they confiscated. Mr. Drake further alleges
that the defendants violated his rights under Section 10A of
the New Jersey Administrative Code by their actions and that
he was not informed by the defendants of the rules concerning
personal computer/word processor usage at the facility.
relief, Mr. Drake seeks the return of his confiscated legal
materials as well as money damages.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26,
1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review
complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is
proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee
or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings
a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42
U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to
sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. see 28 U.S.C. §
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane
v. Seana, 506 F. App'x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012)
(citing Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d
Cir. 2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 F. App'x
230, 232 (3d Cir. 2012) (discussing 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c)(1)); Courteau v. United States, 287 F.
App'x 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008) (discussing 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)). That standard is set forth in Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), as explicated by
the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. To
survive the court's screening for failure to state a
claim, the complaint must allege ‘sufficient factual
matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible.
See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d
Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “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.”
Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303,
308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.' ”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555).
se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).
Nevertheless, “pro se litigants still must
allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a
claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704
F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).
plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for certain violations of constitutional rights. ...