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Webb v. Brown

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

April 15, 2015

AARON NICHOLAS WEBB, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN BROWN, Hancock State Prison; WARDEN STAN SHEPARD, Augusta State Medical Prison; TERRY BUSSY, Deputy Warden, Care of Treatment, Augusta State Medical Prison; T.J. CONLEY, Deputy Warden, Security, Augusta State Medical Prison; and TRACY ANTHONY MILLER, Inmate, Defendants.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate at Augusta State Medical Prison ("ASMP") in Grovetown, 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.App'x 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).

I. SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT

A. BACKGROUND

In a complaint signed on January 27, 2015, and received by the Clerk of Court for filing on February 27, 2015, Plaintiff names the following as Defendants in this case: (1) FNU Brown, a warden at Hancock State Prison; (2) Stan Shepard, a warden at ASMP; (3) Terry Bussy, a deputy warden of care and treatment at ASMP; (4) T.J. Conley, a deputy warden of security at ASMP; and (5) Tracy Anthony Miller, an inmate at ASMP. (See doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4, 6.) 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 December 28, 2012, Defendant Miller ripped Plaintiff's diaper off and tried to digitally penetrate Plaintiff's anus. (Id. at 5.) When Plaintiff tried to pull away, Defendant Miller struck Plaintiff in the hand with a shank. (Id.) The following day, Defendant Miller again pulled the same shank on Plaintiff and threatened to kill him. (Id.) Correctional Officer Hall then called Lt. Jones, Sgt. Boyton, and Sgt. Brinson to conduct cell searches because Defendant Miller claimed to be missing personal property. (Id.) Although none of Defendant Miller's claimed missing property was recovered, the correctional officers did find the shank that had been used against Plaintiff. (Id.) Despite statements by Plaintiff and other inmates to security about Defendant Miller's threats against Plaintiff, Defendant Miller was not placed in lockdown, and he continued to make obscene comments and threats to Plaintiff. (Id.)

On January 1, 2013, Defendant Miller came up behind Plaintiff while Plaintiff was cleaning his room, and Plaintiff hit him with a broom in self-defense. (Id.) Lt. Carroll then placed Plaintiff, but not Defendant Miller, in lockdown. (Id.)

Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from Defendants Shepard, Conley, and Brown for not properly training the staff at ASMP on how to protect him and how to keep Plaintiff and Defendant Miller separated. (Id. at 6.) He also seeks monetary damages from Defendant Bussy for failing to follow Department of Corrections Standard Operating Procedures and Protocols in some unspecified way. (Id.) Plaintiff also wants rape charges brought against Defendant Miller and an order to Defendant Miller to stay away from Plaintiff. (Id.)

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.App'x 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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