United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
JAMES E. GRAHAM, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Ware State Prison in Waycross, Georgia, filed a cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The undersigned informed Plaintiff that his claims did not appear to be related to each other and directed Plaintiff to advise the Court as to which claims against which Defendant(s) he wishes to pursue in this action. Plaintiff responded to the undersigned's Order. A review of Plaintiffs response reveals that his claims are arguably related to each other.
A prisoner proceeding in a civil action against officers or employees of government entities must comply with the mandates of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 & 1915A. In determining compliance, the court shall be guided by the longstanding principle that pro se pleadings are entitled to liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Walker v. Dugger , 860 F.2d 1010, 1011 (11th Cir. 1988).
28 U.S.C. § 1915A requires a district court to screen the complaint for cognizable claims before or as soon as possible after docketing. The court must dismiss the complaint or any portion of the complaint that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may granted, or seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 191 5A(b)(1) and (2).
In Mitchell v. Farcass , 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997), the Eleventh Circuit interpreted the language contained in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), which is nearly identical to that contained in the screening provisions at § 1915A(b). As the language of § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) closely tracks the language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court held that the same standards for determining whether to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) should be applied to prisoner complaints filed pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Mitchell , 112 F.3d at 1490. While the court in Mitchell interpreted § 1915(e), its interpretation guides this court in applying the identical language of § 1915A.
Plaintiff contends that Defendant Owens ordered that all "good fella" gang members be placed in administrative segregation. Plaintiff also contends that he was placed in administrative segregation without benefit of a hearing. Plaintiff also contends that Defendants Brooks, Steedly, Johnson, and Davis know that he is not a member of this gang, yet these Defendants will not release him to general population. Plaintiff contends that his continued placement in administrative segregation places his safety in jeopardy. Plaintiff alleges that, due to this false gang affiliation, he was assaulted while he was temporarily housed at the Fulton County Jail.
The Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment imposes a constitutional duty upon prison officials to take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety and health of prison inmates. "To show a violation of [his] Eighth Amendment rights, [a p]laintiff must produce sufficient evidence of (1) a substantial risk of serious harm; (2) the defendants' deliberate indifference to that risk; and (3) causation." Smith v. Reg'l Dir. of Fla. Dep't of Corr. , 368 F.Appx. 9, 14 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Purcell ex rel. Estate of Morgan v. Toombs Cnty., Ga. , 400 F.3d 1313, 1319 (11th Cir. 2005)).
"The Due Process Clause protects against deprivations of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." Kirby v. Siegelman , 195 F.3d 1285, 1290 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting U.S. CONST. AMEND. XIV). The Supreme Court has identified two situations in which a prisoner can be deprived of liberty such that the protection of due process is required: (1) there is a change in the prisoner's conditions of confinement so severe that it essentially exceeds the sentence imposed by the court; and (2) the State has consistently given a benefit to prisoners, usually through a statute or administrative policy, and the deprivation of that benefit "imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Id. at 1290-91 (quoting Sandin v. Conner , 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)).
These allegations, when read in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, arguably state colorable claims for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A against Defendants Owens, Johnson, Brooks, Steedly, and Davis for alleged deliberate indifference and due process violations. A copy of Plaintiff's Complaint, Documents Numbered 4 and 9, and a copy of this Order shall be served upon Defendants by the United States Marshal without prepayment of cost. If any Defendant elects to file a Waiver of Reply, then he must file either a dispositive motion or an answer to the complaint within thirty (30) days of the filing of said Waiver of Reply.
INSTRUCTIONS TO DEFENDANTS
Since the Plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis, service must be effected by the United States Marshal. FED. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3). In most cases, the marshal will first mail a copy of the complaint to Defendants by first-class mail and request that the Defendants waive formal service of summons. FED. R. Civ. P. 4(d); Local Rule 4.7. Individual and corporate defendants have a duty to avoid unnecessary costs of serving the summons, and any such defendant who fails to comply with the request for waiver must bear the costs of personal service unless good cause can be shown for the failure to return the waiver. FED. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2). Generally, a defendant who timely returns the waiver is not required to answer the complaint until sixty (60) days after the date that the marshal sent the request for waiver. FED. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(3).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants are hereby granted leave of court to take the deposition of the Plaintiff upon oral examination. FED. R. Civ. P. 30(a). Defendants shall ensure that the Plaintiff's deposition and any other depositions in the case are taken within the 140-day discovery period allowed by this court's local rules.
In the event that Defendants take the deposition of any other person, Defendants are ordered to comply with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 as set forth herein. As the Plaintiff will likely not be in attendance for such a deposition, Defendants shall notify Plaintiff of the deposition and advise him that he may serve on Defendants, in a sealed envelope, within ten (10) days of the notice of deposition, written questions the Plaintiff wishes to propound to the ...