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Washam v. Williams

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

October 31, 2017

MICHEAL WAYNE WASHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
ALFONZO WILLIAMS, Sheriff; JOHN H. BUSH, Major; CHESTER V. HUFFMAN, Major; WILBERT WILLIAMS, Lieutenant; STACY WILLIAMS, Nurse; KATIE YOUNG, Nurse; and CASSANDRA HAYNES, Captain, [1]Defendants.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at the Burke County Detention Center (“BCDC”) in Waynesboro, Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is proceeding IFP, Plaintiff's amended complaint must be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v. Donald, 165 F. App'x 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).

         I. SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT

         A. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff names as Defendants (1) Alfonzo Williams, Sheriff; (2) John H. Bush, Major; (3) Chester V. Huffman, Major; (4) Wilbert Williams, Lieutenant; (5) Stacy Williams, Nurse; (6) Katie Young, Nurse; and (7) Cassandra Haynes, Captain. (Doc. no. 17, pp. 2-3.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         Plaintiff, a white male, arrived at BCDC on March 28, 2017. (Id. at 4.) No one conducted a medical screening, but Plaintiff requested to see a mental health professional via the kiosk in BCDC. (Id.) From March 28, 2017 through August 25, 2017, Plaintiff requested to see a mental health professional more than seventeen times. (Id.) Each time, Defendant Stacy Williams or Katie Young denied his request and told him he could not see a mental health professional. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff spoke with Defendants Bush, Huffman, Haynes, and Wilbert Williams about his inability to obtain mental health treatment, but they did nothing. (Id. at 6.)

         Defendants Young and Stacy Williams told Plaintiff he could not receive mental health treatment because he was a “red inmate” and thus not allowed outside of BCDC. However, Plaintiff witnessed three African American inmates who were also “red” taken out of BCDC for treatment of pimples, hair bumps, and a jammed finger. (Id. at 5-6.)

         On August 25, 2017, Defendants sent Plaintiff to Ogeechee Mental Health for an evaluation, where they prescribed him Elavil twice a day for his mental health needs. (Id. at 7.) As a result of Defendants' neglect of his mental health needs from March 28, 2017 through August 25, 2017, Plaintiff suffered from emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. (Id. at 5-6.)

         B. DISCUSSION

         1. Legal Standard for Screening

         The complaint or any portion thereof may be dismissed if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). A claim is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “Failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard as dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).” Wilkerson v. H & S, Inc., 366 F. App'x 49, 51 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997)).

         To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the allegations in the complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). That is, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. While Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require detailed factual allegations, “it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint is insufficient if it “offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '” or if it “tenders ‘naked assertions' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). In short, the complaint must provide a “‘plain statement' possess[ing] enough heft to ‘sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         The court affords a liberal construction to a pro se litigant's pleadings, holding them to a more lenient standard than those drafted by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, this liberal construction does not mean that the court has a duty to re-write the complaint. Snow v. DirecTV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).

         2. Plaintiff Fails to State a Claim for Supervisory Liability ...


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