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Aiken v. Perry

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

June 3, 2015

JAY AIKEN, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN GRADY PERRY; CORRECTIONAL CORPORATION OF AMERICA; COMMISSIONER BRIAN OWENS; DAMON HININGER; and MELODY TURNER, Defendants.

ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Coffee Correctional Facility in Nicholls, Georgia, filed a cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 contesting certain conditions of his confinement. (Doc. 1, p. 4.) The undersigned has conducted an initial review of Plaintiffs Complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Pursuant to that review, and for the reasons set forth below, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Court DISMISS all claims against Defendants Correctional Corporation of America ("CCA"), Owens, Hininger, and Turner as well as any Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendant Perry. The Court ORDERS that a copy of Plaintiffs Complaint and this Order be served upon Defendant Perry. The Court further provides instructions to Plaintiff and Defendant Perry pertaining to the future litigation of this action, which the parties are urged to read and follow.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In any civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, Section 1915A requires a district court to screen the prisoner's complaint for cognizable claims before, or as soon as possible after, docketing. 28 U.S.C § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune. Id. § 1915A(b). Similarly, Section 1915, which governs a prisoner's payment of filing fees, states that a court must dismiss an action that "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." Id. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

In conducting this review, the Court must ensure that the prisoner plaintiff has complied with the mandates of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A. However, in determining compliance, the undersigned is guided by the longstanding principle that pro se pleadings are entitled to liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Walker v. Dugger. 860 F.2d 1010, 1011 (11th Cir. 1988).

In addition, the Court is guided by the opinion of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997). In Mitchell the Eleventh Circuit interpreted the language in Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 112 F.3d at 1490. Noting that this language closely tracks the language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) ("Rule 12(b)(6)"), the court held that the same standards for deciding whether to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) should be applied to the initial review of prisoner complaints under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Id. While the court in Mitchell interpreted Section 1915, its interpretation guides this Court in applying the nearly identical language of the screening provisions in Section 1915A. See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007) (dismissal pursuant to Section 1915A(b)(l) for failure to state a claim governed by same standard as dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6)).

To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation omitted). A plaintiff must assert "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not" suffice. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Because "[p]ro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys, " they are liberally construed. Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110(11th Cir. 2006).

PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff contends that he has suffered multiple asthma attacks and seizures while housed at Coffee Correctional Facility and was transported to Coffee Medical Center for emergency treatment for seizures on May 11, 2014. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6.) Plaintiff alleges that he has since filed numerous grievances concerning the facility's untimely and inadequate response to his seizures and requesting additional treatment but that the Warden of the facility, Defendant Perry, has not responded to his grievances as required by prison policy. (Id. at pp. 3, 6.) Plaintiff also represents that Defendant Perry and other prison officials are aware that his asthma attacks often trigger seizures but nevertheless continue to place him in housing that is conducive to asthma attacks. (Id. at p. 6.) In addition, Plaintiff avers that on October 12, 2014, two correctional officers, in the presence of Defendant Perry, knocked out his dentures and threw him into a wall, causing him to lose his lower dentures and suffer another seizure. (Id. at pp. 6-7; Doc. 1-1, p. 5.)

On November 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint against Defendant Perry as well as CCA-the entity that operates Coffee Correctional Facility-and CCA executives Hininger and Turner. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to Section 1983, presumably on the basis that the alleged events at Coffee Correctional Facility violated his constitutional rights. (See id. at pp. 5-8.) As relief, Plaintiff requests a Court order requiring that Plaintiff be transferred to a safer facility and placed in protective custody and that all inmates receive proper medical care and be free from correctional officer brutality and illegal prison administration. (Id. at p. 8.) Plaintiff also seeks an award of one million dollars in compensatory damages and one million dollars in punitive damages from each Defendant. (Id.)

DISCUSSION

To state a claim for relief under Section 1983, Plaintiff must satisfy two elements. First, he must allege that an act or omission deprived him "of some right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Hale v. Tallapoosa Cnty., 50 F.3d 1579, 1582 (11th Cir. 1995). Second, Plaintiff must allege that the act or omission was committed by "a person acting under color of state law." Id.

Plaintiffs allegations implicate numerous theories of liability, and the undersigned addresses each of these in turn. This analysis applies the Standard of Review set forth above and accepts Plaintiffs nonconclusory ...


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