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Studiemyer v. Wright

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

October 21, 2014



BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at Wheeler Correctional Facility ("WCF") in Alamo, Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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 directed Plaintiff to amend his original complaint because of pleading deficiencies, (see doc. no. 9), and it is the amended complaint that is now before the Court for screening. The Court DIRECTS the CLERK to add Defendants Wheeler Correctional Facility and CCA Corporation as Defendants, in conformity with Plaintiff's amended complaint. (See doc. no. 10, pp. 1, 4.)



Plaintiff names the following Defendants: (1) Darrell Wright, a correctional officer at WCF; (2) WCF; and (3) CCA Corporation. (See doc. no. 10, 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 April 9, 2014, Defendant Wright assaulted Plaintiff when he found him speaking with friends in a dormitory to which he had not been assigned. (Id. at 5.) A verbal altercation between Plaintiff and Defendant Wright turned physical, with Defendant Wright punching and throwing his knee on Plaintiff after Plaintiff had "balled up on the floor defenseless screaming for help." (Id.) Another officer arrived and had to pepper spray Defendant Wright to get him off of Plaintiff. Plaintiff was then taken to a segregation cell by unidentified prison staff and denied medical attention for the multiple injuries he received from Defendant Wright, including a cut below his eye, bruised ribs, and a swollen mouth. (Id.)

Plaintiff seeks damages for his pain and suffering, wants to bring criminal charges for assault against Defendant Wright, and seeks a federal investigation of the "corrupt" activity of staff and administration officials at WCF and the CCA Corporation. (Id. at 6.)


1. Legal Standard for Screening

The amended 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 amended 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 amended 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 re-write the amended complaint. Snow v. DirecTV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).

2. Plaintiff Cannot Bring Criminal Charges against Defendant Wright in a Civil Rights Lawsuit.

In a companion Order, the Court allows Plaintiff to proceed with his Eighth Amendment claim for use of excessive force against Defendant Wright. In addition, however, Plaintiff requests criminal charges against Defendant Wright. The law is well settled that "a private citizen has no judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or non-prosecution of another." Weaver v. Mateer and Harbert, P.A., 523 F.Appx. 568, 568 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing Otero v. U.S. Att'y Gen., 832 F.2d 141, 141 (11th Cir. 1987); see also Sattler v. Johnson, 857 F.2d 224, 227 (4th Cir. 1988) (holding that there is no constitutional right for a member of the public, as a victim, to have defendants, including state government officials, criminally ...

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