United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
GERALD A. DAVIDSON, Plaintiff,
J.D. MEDLIN, Warden, Wheeler CCA Prison, et al., Defendants.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, an inmate at Wheeler Correctional Facility ("WCF") in Alamo, Georgia, brought the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis ("IFP"), Plaintiff's amended 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).
I. SCREENING OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
Plaintiff names the following Defendants in his amended complaint: (1) J.D. Medlin, Warden, Wheeler CCA Prison; (2) Mr. Quinn, Deputy Warden of Care and Treatment, Wheeler CCA Prison; (3) Pat Clark, HSA, Wheeler CCA Prison; (4) Nurse Pope, Wheeler CCA Prison Medical Department; (5) Nurse Hutto, Wheeler CCA Prison Medical Department; and (6) Lt. Armour, Correctional Officer, Wheeler CCA Prison. (Doc. no. 13, 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.
Plaintiff has four complaints. First, Defendant Medlin is deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs because he permits smoking in the dorms. (Id. at 5.) Second, Defendant Quinn is deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs because he failed to "control medical." (Id.) Third, Nurse Pope, Nurse Hutto, and Defendant Clark are deliberately indifferent because they do not give Plaintiff an extra meal on holidays and weekends after his noon insulin shot to prevent low blood sugar. (Id.) As a result, on one occasion Plaintiff had to be carried to the medical department because he had low blood sugar. (Id.) Defendant Clark is additionally liable as a supervisor of nurses for this practice. (Id.) Defendant Clark is deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs because she (1) gives Plaintiff an insulin shot at 3:00 a.m., which prevents him from getting eight hours of sleep, (2) fails to supervise the nurses, who delay administering chronic care medication, and (3) failed to cure sores on Plaintiff's face that appeared after he arrived at WCF. (Id.) Lastly, Defendant Armour took Plaintiff's wallet when Plaintiff arrived at WCF and has not yet returned it. (Id.)
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, of 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, 327 (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 for 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. An amended 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. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). 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 Fails to State a Claim for Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.
Plaintiff can state a cause of action under the Eighth Amendment for exposure to secondhand smoke "by alleging that prison officials have, with deliberate indifference, exposed him to levels of [secondhand smoke] that pose an unreasonable risk of serious damage to his future health." Cassady v. Donald, 447 F.Appx. 28, 30 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Kelley v. Hicks, 400 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2005)). Plaintiff does not allege that he is being exposed to "unreasonably high levels" of second-hand smoke. Instead, he vaguely alleges that prison officials permit smoking in the dorms. Additionally, Plaintiff makes no mention of any actual harm or risk of harm. Nor is there any basis for finding that Defendant Medlin knew about and ignored any such risk to Plaintiff. Plaintiff's bare allegation falls far short of stating a second-hand ...