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Rutledge v. Horne

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

November 9, 2017

MARCUS RUTLEDGE, Plaintiff,
v.
Deputy GEORGE HORNE; et al, Defendants.

          ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION

          Charles H. Weigle United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Marcus Rutledge, a pretrial detainee at the Houston County Detention Center in Perry, Georgia, has filed a pro se civil rights action in this Court seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff also seeks leave to proceed in this case without prepayment of the required filing fee. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

         For reasons stated herein, it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's claim against Darius Ivey be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. It is further RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's claim against Deputies George Horne, Donald Lester, Jesse Krauter, and Zachariah Filipovich be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. It is ORDERED that his Fourteenth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against Nurses Jody Holtzolaw and Anna West proceed forward for further factual development.

         I. Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis

         Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in this case without prepayment of the required filing fee is GRANTED. Plaintiff remains responsible for payment of the full $350.00 filing fee. The CLERK shall thus forward a copy of this Order to the warden and/or business manager of the facility in which Plaintiff is incarcerated so that withdrawals from his account may commence as payment towards the filing fee.

         In accordance with the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b), Plaintiff's custodian (and any successor custodians) shall ensure that twenty percent (20%) of the income credited to Plaintiff's account (at the institution or facility which he is confined) be remitted to the Clerk of this Court until the $350.00 filing fee has been paid in full. It is ORDERED that Plaintiff's custodian forward payments from the prisoner's account to the Clerk of Court each month until the filing fee is paid in full, provided the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. Collection of monthly payments from Plaintiff's trust fund account shall continue until the entire $350.00 has been collected, notwithstanding the dismissal of Plaintiff's lawsuit or the granting of judgment against him prior to the collection of the full filing fee.

         In the event Plaintiff is hereafter released from the custody of the State of Georgia or any county thereof, he shall remain obligated to pay any balance due on the filing fee in this proceeding until said amount has been paid in full. Collection from Plaintiff of any balance due on the filing fee by any means permitted by law is authorized in the event Plaintiff is released from custody and fails to remit payments.

         II. Preliminary Screening of Plaintiff's Complaint

         A. Standard of Review

          In accordance with the PLRA, the district courts are obligated to conduct a preliminary screening of every complaint filed by a prisoner who seeks redress from a government entity, official, or employee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Screening is also required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) when the plaintiff is proceeding IFP. Both statutes apply in this case, and the standard of review is the same. When conducting preliminary screening, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006); Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1159-60 (11th Cir. 2003). Pro se pleadings, like the one in this case, are “‘held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed.'” Boxer X, 437 F.3d at 1110 (quoting Hughes, 350 F.3d at 1160). Still, the Court must dismiss a prisoner complaint if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).

         “A claim is frivolous only if it ‘lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.'” Miller v. Donald, 541 F.3d 1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)). The Court may dismiss claims that are based on “‘indisputably meritless legal'” theories and “‘claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.'” Id. (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not include “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)). The factual allegations in a complaint “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and cannot “merely create[] a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (first alteration in original). In other words, the complaint must allege enough facts “to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” supporting a claim. Id. at 556. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         To state a claim for relief under §1983, a plaintiff must allege that (1) an act or omission deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or a statute of the United States; and (2) the act or omission was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Hale v. Tallapoosa Cty., 50 F.3d 1579, 1582 (11th Cir. 1995). If a litigant cannot satisfy these requirements or fails to provide factual allegations in support of his claim or claims, the complaint is subject to dismissal. See Chappell v. Rich, 340 F.3d 1279, 1282-84 (11th Cir. 2003).

         B. Plaintiff's Claims

         Plaintiff, a diabetic, is a pretrial detainee at the Houston County Detention Center in Perry, Georgia. ECF No. 1 at 1, 6. He states that on May 17, 2016, his blood sugar dropped, which caused him to pass out, fall face-down, and knock out his two front teeth. ECF No. 1 at 6. Plaintiff states he had to receive CPR and complains that Deputy Darius Ivey, who performed the CPR, “cracked the bone in [his] chest because [Deputy Ivey] was [neither] trained to perform this act nor is he a nurse.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that the entire incident happened “because the nurses Jody Holtzolaw and Anna West neglected to check [his] sugar knowing that [he] was a diabetic and by their action [he] almost lost [his] life.” Id. He claims he now suffers from poor vision, extreme fatigue, mental instability, and high blood pressure. Id. He argues that “the deputies Jesse Krauter, Zachariah Filipovich, Donald Lester, ...


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