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Seymour v. Dickson

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

October 3, 2017

LT. FNU DICKSON, Defendant.



         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) This Court deferred ruling on Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis by Order dated August 2, 2017. (Doc. 4.)

         For the reasons which follow, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, (doc. 2), and DISMISSES as moot his Motion for Appointment of Counsel, (doc. 6). For these same reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without prejudice Plaintiff's Complaint and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case based on Plaintiff's failure to follow this Court's Order. Additionally, I RECOMMEND the Court DENY Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis.


         Plaintiff brings his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserted Defendant Dickson accused him of being in a fight. Plaintiff stated he was taken to medical and photographed, which revealed he had not been in a fight, yet he was taken to the Special Housing Unit (“SHU”) while this alleged incident was investigated under Defendant Dickson's authority. (Doc. 1, p. 2.) Plaintiff contended he was not issued a disciplinary report and received no hearing, and he was placed in the SHU without due process.

         Plaintiff also contended there are no panic buttons or sprinklers in the cells in the SHU. Plaintiff stated the food is served cold, is “frequently infested, ” and is served through the same slot as dirty brooms and mops are when they are passed through the cells. (Id.) Plaintiff maintained the inmates in the SHU are not given any cleaning supplies for the toilets, the rooms are infested with roaches, mice, spiders, mosquitoes, and gnats, and black mold is growing inside the vents. Plaintiff averred he has no access to a law library, is frequently denied outdoor recreation, and was denied toothpaste and deodorant for weeks. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint largely echoes his original Complaint. (Doc. 5.)


         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, 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).

         The Court looks to the instructions for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a Complaint on an application to proceed in forma pauperis. 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.”).


         I. Dismissal for Failure to Follow this Court's Orders

         In its August 2, 2017, Order, the Court deferred the requisite frivolity review of Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court directed Plaintiff to amend his Complaint using the Court's preferred complaint form. (Doc. 4, p. 4.) The Court advised Plaintiff his claims were not related to each other and that he must set forth allegations in his Amended Complaint indicating that his constitutional rights had been violated and by whom those rights had been violated. (Id.) In this regard, the Court provided Plaintiff with specific instructions as to how he should amend his Complaint. (Id. at p. 5.) Plaintiff was cautioned that his failure to file an ...

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