United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
DANIEL W. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
RODNEY JACKSON, et al, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
move for judgment on the pleadings and dismissal of plaintiff
Daniel Taylor's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint. Doc. 10.
Taylor opposes. Doc. 13.
is incarcerated at Coastal State Prison. Doc. 1-1. On August
22, 2016, he and defendant Shanae Curtis were involved in a
heated confrontation, after which he was punished by
segregation from the main prisoner population. Id.
at 6-8. Officials first confined him in a "black molded
shower" for eight hours without his being able to use
the restroom, then they placed in a cell with a rusted steel
bunk and leaking water on the floor. For good measure, they
confiscated his property. Id. at 8-9. While in
segregation, he was unable to litigate any of his pending
cases or access a law library. Id. And since leaving
segregation, he is "now sick and being denied medical
and mental health treatment." Id. at 9.
disciplinary report explains that he was placed in
segregation for cursing at Curtis during the confrontation.
Taylor insists the disciplinary report is false and was
fabricated specifically to deprive him of the ability to file
legal documents in his other lawsuits and obtain parole.
Id. at 8-9. Plaintiff asserts federal claims for
conspiracy and violation of the First and Eighth Amendments,
as well as several state law tort claims. Id. at
11-13; see also doc. 13 at 15-21 (an apparent
"Amended Complaint" snuck into his objection as an
exhibit, rather than separately filed as such, expanding his
denial of medical care and medical negligence claims, and
alleging for the first time a failure to train claim).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), "[a]fter the
pleadings are closed -- but early enough not to delay trial
-- a party may move for judgment on the pleadings."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A judgment on the pleadings is
appropriate only "where there are no material facts in
dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Cannon v. City of W. Palm
Beach, 250 F.3d 1299, 1300 (11th Cir. 2001). A fact is
"material" if "it might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing [substantive] law."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247
(1986). "In other words, a judgment on the pleadings
alone, if sustained, must be based on the undisputed facts
appearing in all the pleadings." Stanton v.
Larsh, 239 F.2d 104, 106 (5th Cir. 1957).
legal standards governing Rule 12(c) motions are the same as
those governing Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. Roma
Outdoor Creations, Inc. v. City of Cumming, Ga., 558
F.Supp.2d 1283, 1284 (N.D.Ga. 2008) ("A motion for
judgment on the pleadings is subject to the same standard as
is a Rule 12(b) (6) motion to dismiss."). Therefore,
plaintiffs complaint must contain sufficient factual matter
to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
Wooten v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 626 F.3d 1187, 1196
(11th Cir. 2010). To be "plausible on its face, "
the complaint must have enough "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) (quoting
Bell Atlantic, v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 5444, 570
(2007)). In applying this standard, factual allegations are
accepted as true, but legal conclusions are not. Id.
Plaintiff contends that jurisdiction properly lies with
Chatham County Superior Court, and that this case was
improperly removed by defendants. See docs. 7 &
13. A defendant may remove to federal court any civil action
brought in state court if the federal court has original
jurisdiction over the matter. See 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a). Federal courts have original jurisdiction over cases
"arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States. 28 U.S.C. 1331. A plaintiff, as
"master of the claim, " "may avoid federal
jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state law."
Caterpillar, Inc., v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). When, however, a plaintiff presents one or more
claims that arise under federal law, he subjects himself to
the possibility that the defendant will remove the case to
federal court. City of Chicago v. Intl College of
Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 164 (1997). This is just such a
case: Taylor asserts both federal claims and state law tort
claims. Doc. 1-1 at 11-13. His state tort claims do not
obviate his federal claims -- the propriety of removal is
determined only by the question of whether he raises
one (or more) claims under federal law. City of
Chicago, 522 U.S. at 164. Defendants' removal of the
case to federal court was, therefore, proper under 28 U.S.C.
argue that dismissal is appropriate because plaintiff has
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as well as on
the merits. Because Taylor has not exhausted either his
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) or Georgia Tort Claims
Act (GTCA) administrative remedies, dismissal is appropriate.
the PLRA exhaustion provision, a prisoner must exhaust all
available administrative remedies before filing an
action that challenges the conditions of his confinement.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Exhaustion is a
"pre-condition to suit" that must be enforced even
if the available administrative remedies are either
"futile or inadequate." Harris v. Garner,190 F.3d 1279, 1285-86 (11th Cir. 1999), affd in part and
vacated and remanded on other grounds by Harris v.
Garner,216 F.3d 970 (2000) (en banc); see also
Jones v. Bock,549 U.S. 199, 199-200 (2007) ("There
is no question that exhaustion is mandatory under the
PLRA"). When a defendant moves to dismiss and puts
forward proof showing that plaintiff failed to exhaust and
defendant did not inhibit his efforts to do so, the PLRA
requires the Court to dismiss the unexhausted
claims.See Turner v. Burnside, 541 F.3d
1077, 108-83 (11th Cir. 2008) (describing the two-prong
"facial" and "factual" evaluation of
exhaustion as a "matter in abatement, " as it is ...