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Daker v. Allen

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

July 20, 2017

WASEEM DAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
MARTY ALLEN, ET AL., individually and in their official capacities, [1] Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the Middle District of Georgia on December 7, 2016. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed Motions to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Docs. 2, 16[2].) Moreover, Plaintiff has filed: two Emergency Motions for Partial Summary Judgment, Preliminary Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order, (docs. 7, 8); three Emergency Motions for Preliminary Injunction and Preliminary Injunction, (docs. 13, 14, 15); two additional Motions for Partial Summary Judgment, Permanent Injunction, and Preliminary Injunction, (docs. 10, 11), and a Motion for Subpoena and/or Preservation of Evidence, (doc. 12). The District Court for the Middle District of Georgia transferred this case to this Court after conducting a review of Plaintiff's Complaint and dismissing Plaintiff's claims against any Defendant residing within the confines of the Middle District of Georgia. (Doc. 17.)[3]

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court DEFERS ruling on Plaintiff's Motions to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, as well as the numerous other Motions Plaintiff has filed, 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.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1, et seq., (“RLUIPA”). In his Complaint, Plaintiff generally alleges that the remaining Defendants have violated his constitutional rights and the RLUIPA while he has been housed at Georgia State Prison. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts he is an adherent to the Islamic religion, and “Defendants' policies and customs” are leading to the denial of Plaintiff's participation in religious celebrations and feasts, prayer oils, religious publications and educational materials, and the ability to correspond with religious leaders. (Doc. 1, p. 11.) Plaintiff contends “Defendants” placed him in the Tier II program in April 2016 without providing advanced notice or an opportunity to present testimony or evidence against his placement, in violation of due process. (Id. at pp. 14-15.) Plaintiff also contends the Tier II program consists of three (3) different phases, he was placed in these different phases as recently as November 29, 2016, and he was denied due process protections each time. (Id. at pp. 14-16.) In addition, Plaintiff maintains that Defendants have a custom of enforcing grooming regulations through disciplinary action, threats of the use of force, and actual uses of force. (Id. at p. 17.) Plaintiff avers he was forcibly shaven with clippers that were not sanitized on several occasions, including one occasion on November 9, 2016. Plaintiff states Defendants Hutcheson, Moye, and Anderson told him to shave his beard, but Plaintiff declined to follow this directive for religious reasons. As a result, Plaintiff alleges Defendants Williams, Nobilio, and Jones forcibly dragged and carried Plaintiff by his arms to the barbershop while Defendants Worthen, Kelley, and Hester watched this occur and did nothing to intervene on Plaintiff's behalf. Plaintiff contends he had injuries to his back, right shoulder blade, and wrists as a result of this incident. (Id. at pp. 17-18.) Plaintiff also alleges Defendant Allen, later this same day, directed Defendants Hutcheson, Ford, Littles, Mendez, Nobilio, Williams, and Wright to forcibly shave Plaintiff, at which time Plaintiff was sprayed with MK-9, a chemical agent, and was dragged to the barbershop without being de-contaminated, causing his eyes and throat to burn for more than thirty (30) minutes' time. (Id. at p. 18.)

         Moreover, Plaintiff maintains he has been diagnosed with allergy and sinus problems and is on medication for these problems. Plaintiff states he has been suffering with ongoing toothaches and pains. (Id. at p. 20.) However, Plaintiff asserts “Defendants” deny Sensodyne toothpaste, which Defendant Geiger instructed Plaintiff to use, to inmates in the Tier II program and to those inmates who are indigent.

         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 Motions 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 ...


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