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Shaffer v. Danforth

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

October 21, 2014

JOHNNIE SHAFFER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM DANFORTH, Warden; LT. MADDOX, CO I; SGT. FASON; FNU BEASLY, Unit Manager; and JOHN DOE, E-2 Floor Officer, CO I, Defendants.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo, Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 concerning events that occurred at Telfair State Prison ("TSP") in Helena, Georgia. Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Plaintiff's complaint must be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v. Donald, 165 F.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006). The Court DIRECTS the CLERK to add to the docket the John Doe Defendant identified in the caption of this Order, in conformity with Plaintiff's complaint. (See doc. no. 1, p. 4.)

I. SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT

A. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff names the following Defendants: (1) William Danforth, Warden at TSP; (2) Lt. Maddox, a correctional officer at TSP; (3) Sgt. Fason, a correctional officer at TSP; (4) FNU Beasly, a unit manager at TSP; and (5) John Doe, a male correctional officer at TSP working the floor in Dormitory E-2 on March 15, 2014. (See doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

On March 15, 2014, Defendants Maddox and Doe beat Defendant while he was handcuffed and then dragged him out of his cell, all the while calling Plaintiff derogatory names. (Id. at 5.) Fearful of the two officers because of the beating he was receiving, Plaintiff attempted to resist leaving his cell, which resulted in the officers kicking at Plaintiff to dislodge him from his cell. (Id.) In the struggle, Plaintiff collided with Defendant Maddox, causing a can of mace to explode over Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff was not allowed to shower off the mace or receive medical attention for the injuries he received during the beating. (Id.)

Unrelated to the beating from Defendants Maddox and Doe, Plaintiff also asserts that he has a medical profile for a bottom bunk assignment, but Defendants Fason and Beasly put him in a cell with another inmate who also had a bottom bunk profile. (Id.) Thus, Plaintiff ended up sleeping on the floor. (Id.) Plaintiff provides no details as to when this cell assignment occurred or how long he slept on the floor.

Plaintiff seeks damages for his pain and suffering, demotion of Defendants Beasly, Maddox and Fason, termination of the John Doe Defendant from his job, and letters of apology from all Defendants. (Id. at 6.)

B. DISCUSSION

1. Legal Standard for Screening

The complaint or any portion thereof may be dismissed if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). A claim is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). "Failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard as dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)." Wilkerson v. H & S, Inc., 366 F.Appx. 49, 51 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997)).

To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the allegations in the complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "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). That is, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. While Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint is insufficient if it "offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '" or if it "tenders naked assertions' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Id . (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). In short, the complaint must provide a "plain statement' possess[ing] enough heft to sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

Finally, the court affords a liberal construction to a pro se litigant's pleadings, holding them to a more lenient standard than those drafted by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, this liberal construction does not mean that the court has a duty to ...


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