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Taylor v. Williams

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

March 31, 2017

FRANK JAMES TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN DOUG WILLIAMS; COUNSELOR SMITH; OFFICER MITCHELL; OFFICER SANTIAGO; MR. SIMMONS; CERT TEAM GOMAZ; and CORRECTIONAL OFFICER CLARK, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Hancock State Prison in Sparta, Georgia, filed the above-captioned Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 contesting events allegedly occurring at Smith State Prison in Glennville, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Concurrently, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) The Court granted that Motion by Order dated November 2, 2016. (Doc. 10.) For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts a “disturbance broke out” in his dormitory, and the disturbance involved weapons. (Doc. 1, p. 5.) Plaintiff contends he was stabbed twenty-six (26) times by ten (10) different people over the course of forty-five (45) seconds in his head, chest, back, and arms. Plaintiff contends he was also hit with a combination lock, which resulted in the loss of vision in his right eye. (Id.) Plaintiff avers Defendant Clark and “cert team officers” came into the dormitory and ran back out, leaving Plaintiff surrounded by people stabbing him. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges “security staff” violated his constitutional rights. (Id.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all of his assets and shows an inability to pay the filing fee and also includes a statement of the nature of the action which shows that he is entitled to redress. Even if the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the action if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity. Upon such screening, the Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or which seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         When reviewing a Complaint on an application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court is guided by the instructions for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (“A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10 (requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs, each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a claim is frivolous under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).

         Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 F.App'x 675, 678 (11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must determine whether the complaint contains “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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251 F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)).

         In its analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and, therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006) (“Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys.”) (emphasis omitted) (quoting Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However, Plaintiff's unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes regarding procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”). The requisite review of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint raises several doctrines of law, which the Court discusses in turn.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendants Williams, Smith, Mitchell, Santiago, Simmons, and Gomaz

         Plaintiff fails to make any factual allegations against Defendants Williams, Smith, Mitchell, Santiago, Simmons, or Gomaz. Plaintiff's allegations are analyzed under the Standard of Review set forth above, and the Court accepts Plaintiff's non-conclusory factual allegations as true, as the Court must at this stage. However, 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 Cty., 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.

         As Plaintiff does not make any factual allegations against Defendants Williams, Smith, Mitchell, Santiago, Simmons, or Gomaz, he cannot sustain a Section 1983 claim against these Defendants. Id.; see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. Thus, the Court should DISMISS Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Williams, Smith, Mitchell, Santiago, Simmons, or Gomaz.

         II. Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendants ...


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