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Parks v. State, Department of Corrections

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

July 10, 2017

ROBERT PARKS, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF GEORGIA; DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; COFFEE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; WHEELER CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; ROGERS STATE PRISON; and GEORGIA STATE PRISON, [1] Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Augusta State Medical Prison in Grovetown, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 3.) Plaintiff also filed “Motions” for Copies, (docs. 4, 6), which the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DEFERS ruling on Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and DIRECTS Plaintiff to amend his Complaint and to submit the appropriate form on which to move to proceed in forma pauperis within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order. The Court also DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to mail Plaintiff the Court's preferred forms for prisoner-plaintiffs wishing to move to proceed without pre-payment of fees and for the filing of Section 1983 complaints. In addition, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to mail Plaintiff a copy of the docket sheet of this case.

         BACKGROUND

         In his Complaint, which is less than a model of clarity, Plaintiff asserts Defendants “have cause[d him] to suffer grievous harm” and the “deprivation” of his rights. (Doc. 1, p. 2.) Plaintiff also asserts the State of Georgia has committed fraud, torture, torment, controlling abuse, molestation, vexatious acts, annoyance, and irritation, all of which have caused him pain and suffering. Additionally, Plaintiff maintains the “administration” has intercepted his mail and phone calls. (Id.) Plaintiff avers the Department of Corrections is using computers on him and the citizens of the State of Georgia, which cause blindness, and these computers have instituted plots to have Plaintiff killed, including at Wheeler Correctional Facility. He contends undisclosed staff and other inmates have beaten him, almost putting him in a coma. Plaintiff states he was placed in a cell at Georgia State Prison with an inmate who had a shank. When the attempt to kill him failed, Plaintiff was placed in a cell containing a toilet full of toxic feces. (Id.) Plaintiff also states he has been placed in the mental health unit while housed in Augusta State Medical Prison, yet he does not suffer from mental health issues.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. 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, 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, 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 must 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.”).

         I. Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

         While Plaintiff has submitted an Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, he has used a form which is not the form this Court wishes for prisoners to use when seeking to proceed before this Court. To this end, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to provide Plaintiff with a blank copy of the application to proceed in forma pauperis form which asks prisoner-plaintiffs questions about their inmate trust accounts on page 2 of this application. The Court DIRECTS Plaintiff to re-submit his application within fourteen (14) days of this Order and DEFERS ruling on Plaintiff's Motion until he has submitted the proper forms. Plaintiff is advised that his failure to timely comply with this Court's directive may result in the dismissal of his Complaint for failure to follow a Court Order and failure to prosecute.

         II. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint

         In addition, Plaintiff's Complaint was not submitted on the form complaint prisoners are to use when filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cause of action in this Court. The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to provide Plaintiff with a proper blank prisoner civil rights complaint form. The Court also DIRECTS Plaintiff to complete this form within fourteen (14) days of this Order and to pay special attention to the questions this forms asks. In addition, Plaintiff is advised he must set forth allegations indicating that his constitutional rights have been violated and by whom his rights have been violated.

         The Court also advises Plaintiff that he has not named an entity amenable to suit under Section 1983. In order to state a claim for relief under Section 1983, a plaintiff must satisfy two elements. First, a plaintiff 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, a plaintiff must allege that the act or omission was committed by “a person acting under color of state law.” Id. While local governments qualify as “persons” under Section 1983, state agencies, penal institutions, and private corporations which contract with states to operate penal institutions are generally not considered legal entities subject to suit. See Grech v. Clayton Cty., 335 F.3d 1326, 1343 (11th Cir. 2003). The issue of whether a government entity is capable of being sued is “determined by the law of the state in which the district court is held.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b); accord Lawal v. Fowler, 196 F. App'x 765, 768 (11th Cir. 2006). Under Georgia law, only three classes of ...


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