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Bowman v. Owens

United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division

May 7, 2015

CEASAR J. BOWMAN, Plaintiff
v.
Commissioner BRIAN OWENS, et al, Defendants

Proceedings Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Before the U.S. Magistrate Judge

ORDER & RECOMMENDATION

STEPHEN HYLES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Plaintiff Ceasar J. Bowman, a state prisoner currently confined at Hays State Prison in Trion, Georgia, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint in this Court seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 1985. Plaintiff also seeks to proceed in this case without pre-payment of the Court’s filing fee and has moved for immediate injunctive relief. For those reasons stated herein, Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 10) is GRANTED. After conducting a thorough review of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint (ECF No. 7), as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the undersigned also finds Plaintiff’s allegations sufficient to allow claims against Defendants Darisol, Warren, Winters, Owens, Reed, Crickmar, and Jacobs to go forward for further factual development. It is RECOMMENDED, however, that all other parties and claims be DISMISSED without prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), for failure to state a claim, and that Plaintiff’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (ECF No. 9) be DENIED.

I. Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis

Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis. Based on his submissions, the undersigned finds that Plaintiff is currently unable to pre-pay the Court’s $350.00 filing fee. His Motion (ECF No. 10) is thus GRANTED. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). This does not mean that the filing fee is waived, however. Plaintiff is still obligated to pay the full balance of the filing fee using the payment plan described in § 1915(b) and ordered herein. See infra at 13. For this reason, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to send a copy of this Order to the warden or business manager of the facility in which Plaintiff is currently confined.

II. Preliminary Review

A. Standard of Review

Because Plaintiff is a prisoner “seeking redress from a governmental entity or [an] officer or employee of a governmental entity, ” this Court is required to conduct a preliminary screening of his complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In so doing, the district court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 1344, 1347 (11th Cir. 2004). Pro se pleadings are also “held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys” and must be “liberally construed” by the court. Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998).

A pro se pleading is, nonetheless, subject to dismissal prior to service if the court finds that the complaint, when construed liberally and viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). To state a claim, a complaint must include “enough factual matter (taken as true)” to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests[.]” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56(2007). The plaintiff must also allege sufficient facts to “raise the right to relief above the speculative level” and create “a reasonable expectation” that discovery will reveal evidence to prove a claim. Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009).

B. Plaintiff’s Complaint

The present action arises out Plaintiff’s confinement at Eastman Youth Detention Center (“Eastman YDC”), Burris Correctional Training Center (“Buriss CTC”), and Hays State Prison. Although Plaintiff provides only a vague description of his criminal history, it appears from the Amended Complaint that Plaintiff was first convicted of aggravated assault on August 11, 2011, and sentenced, by Judge Patricia Stone in the Chatham County Juvenile Court, “to serve sixty [60] months with the Department of Juvenile Justice.” Plaintiff’s Complaint also shows a second sentencing date on November 19, 2013. At that time, Plaintiff was ordered to serve 2 years, 8 months, and 28 days, which appears to be equivalent to the time remaining on his initial sentence. Plaintiff alleges that he was still considered a juvenile offender.

In November 2014, however, Plaintiff was “boarded out” from the Eastman Youth Correctional Center to Burris CTC (an adult facility), “as a disciplinary recourse, ” at the direction of Defendants Darisol, Warren, and Winters (all assistant directors at the YDC). While at Burris CTC, Plaintiff was housed in general population with adult offenders and was informed, by Defendants Obre and Wilson, that his classification as an “adult offender” was “authorized” by Commissioner Brian Owens. Plaintiff similarly alleges that his sentencing judge, Judge Patricia Stone, knowingly allowed him to be confined in an adult facility contrary to the terms of his original sentence.

In July 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to Hays State Prison where he was placed in the “Tier II” program by Warden Scott Crickmar, Regional Director Rick Jacobs, and Unit Manager Randy Reed. Plaintiff alleges that he was not given prior notice or fair opportunity to be heard regarding the placement. He also believes that this confinement is tantamount to “cruel and unusual punishment” because of his status as a “juvenile offender” and because of the restricted privileges, sensory deprivation, twenty-four hour solitary confinement, lack of recreation, inadequate medical and psychiatric care, lack of sanitation, and restriction on religious exercise that is all part of the Tier II confinement. Since his placement in Tier II, Plaintiff has apparently suffered from chronic weight loss and “instability” in his health because of improper “nourishment, high blood pressure, and low potassium.”

Plaintiff further alleges that the Tier II program has made him mentally unstable and dependent on sedative medication. Plaintiff apparently receives some treatment from a psychiatrist, but his treatment plan only involves sedation. Plaintiff claims that he has “serious psychiatric needs” and is being denied adequate mental health treatment by the Mental Health Director, i.e., the individual that approved of his “treatment plan.”

Plaintiff claims that he filed two grievances at Hays State Prison and unsuccessfully appealed the denial of those grievances to the “central office.” He also states that other administrative remedies have somehow been made “unavailable to him.” Plaintiff has thus now filed the present lawsuit and brings claims against eleven defendants – including Commissioner Brian Owens; Regional Directors Cynthia Nelson and Rick Jacobs; Judge Patricia Stone; Eastman YDC Assistant Directors Darisol, Warren, and Winters; Warden Shelia Oubre; Warden Scott Crickmar; and John Doe “Director of Mental Health at Hayes State Prison – for “false imprisonment, ” deliberate ...


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