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Franklin v. Brunswick Police Department

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

October 5, 2017

IMARE' FRANKLIN, Plaintiff,
v.
BRUNSWICK POLICE DEPARTMENT; GLYNN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER; JENNIFER CANNON; and GLYNN COUNTY DRUG COURT, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, who is currently housed at Autry State Prison in Pelham, Georgia, submitted a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contesting certain events allegedly occurring in Brunswick, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) The Court has conducted the requisite frivolity review of that Complaint. For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS this Complaint for failure to state a claim and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal. Additionally, I RECOMMEND the Court DENY Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis.

         BACKGROUND [1]

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint against the above-named Defendants on April 13, 2017. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that, on March 3, 2017, Defendant Brunswick Police Department (“BPD”) abused him physically and psychologically during his arrest and while he was being booked. (Id. at pp. 4-5.) The alleged abuse included a push, verbal threats, and a taser being raised to Plaintiff's face. (Id. at p. 7.) Further, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Glynn County Detention Center failed to stop BPD's abuse while he was in booking and also engaged in abusive behavior toward Plaintiff. (Id. at p. 5.) In addition, Plaintiff contends that the Glynn County Detention Center denied him proper medical care and sufficient food provisions and did not provide for his safety, thereby treating him “with cruel and unusual punishment.” (Id.) He also contends that Glynn County Detention Center read his legal mail and violated his Miranda rights.[2] (Id.)

         Moreover, Plaintiff contends that, on March 31, 2017, Defendant Jennifer Cannon, his probation officer, falsely testified against him in the Superior Court of Glynn County. (Id. at pp. 3, 5.) According to Plaintiff, this false testimony caused psychological harm, “depriv[ing him] mentally and emotionally.” (Id. at p. 5.) Plaintiff asserts that he was sentenced to fifteen months in prison and subjected to improper medical care by Glynn County Detention Center as a result of Cannon's allegedly false testimony. (Id.) Specifically, Plaintiff states that Glynn County Detention Center was “deliberately indifferent to [his] health and safety” and did not properly treat his skin graft, collapsed lung, body wounds, or psychological abuse. (Id. at p. 7.) As relief for the foregoing claims, Plaintiff requests either monetary damages in an amount sufficient to meet his medical needs or an injunction directing the state of Georgia to pay for his medical treatments. (Id. at pp. 6, 7.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2.) 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.”). The requisite review of Plaintiff's Complaint raises several doctrines of law which require the Court to dismiss.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Dismissal of Claims Against Defendant Glynn County Drug Court

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2)

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a pleading to contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While a plaintiff need not provide detailed factual allegations, a complaint is insufficient if it offers no more than “labels and conclusions, ” or “an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully- harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations omitted). Here, even construing Plaintiff's Complaint liberally, he fails to state a claim against Defendant Glynn County Drug Court. Plaintiff makes no factual allegations against Defendant Glynn County Drug Court in his Complaint. In fact, Plaintiff only mentions Defendant Glynn Drug Court in the case caption. Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted against Defendant Glynn County Drug Court. See Anderson v. Fulton Cty. ...


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