United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
JAMMIE L. MARSHALL, Plaintiff,
G.D.C.I. FOOD SERVICE, Defendant.
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
who is currently housed at Johnson State Prison in
Wrightsville, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 contesting events allegedly occurring in
Reidsville, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion
for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 3.)
For the reasons which follow, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Id.) For these
same reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court
DISMISS Plaintiff's 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.
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts he was on detail at the canning
plant in Reidsville, Georgia. (Doc. 1, p. 5.) Plaintiff states
he was beginning to pull the greens from the slow conveyor
belt and place them on the speed belt when the shroud
covering the gear and chain caught the tip of his glove
because the shroud was not secured properly. Plaintiff
maintains his hand was pulled through this area, crushing his
hand and extensively damaging it. (Id.) Plaintiff
asserts Defendant is personally liable due to the negligent
manner in which he was injured. (Id.) Plaintiff also
asserts a doctor took a longer than is customary to review
his records. (Id. at p. 8.)
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).
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)).
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 Fed.Appx. 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)).
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
Dismissal of Claims Against G.D.C.I.
order to state a claim for relief under Section 1983, a
plaintiff must satisfy two elements. First, a plaintiff must
allege that an act or omission deprived him “of some
right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States.” Hale v. Tallapoosa
Cty., 50 F.3d 1579, 1582 (11th Cir. 1995). Second, a
plaintiff must allege that the act or omission was committed
by “a person acting under color of state law.”
Id. 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
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations omitted).
Plaintiff fails to plausibly state a claim that G.D.C.I.
should be held liable for his injuries. At most, Plaintiff
alleges that G.D.C.I was negligent in its operations.
However, “Section 1983 simply cannot be used to bring a
negligence-based tort suit in federal court, and even read
most charitably, [Plaintiff's] allegation” that
part of a machine was not secured “sounds in negligence
rather than the ‘criminal recklessness' required to
support a § 1983 claim.” Hopes v. Correct
Health, No. CV417-079, 2017 WL 2805108, at *1 (S.D. Ga.
June 28, 2017) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 836-40 (1994)), report and recommendation adopted,
sub nom., Hopes v. Wilcher, No. CV417-79, 2017
WL 3013263 (S.D. Ga. July 14, 2017).
grounds support dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against
Defendant G.D.C.I. Plaintiff makes no indication whether
G.D.C.I. is a private corporation or whether this named
Defendant is an arm of the Georgia Department of Corrections.
In the latter instance, this Defendant would not be subject
to suit under Section 1983 based on Eleventh Amendment
immunity principles. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 67 (1989). “The Eleventh
Amendment insulates a state from suit brought by individuals
in federal court unless the state either consents to suit or
waives its Eleventh Amendment immunity.” Stevens v.
Gay, 864 F.2d 113, 114 (11th Cir. 1989) (footnote
omitted) (citing Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98-100 (1984)). A lawsuit
against a state agency or employee in its official capacity
is no different from a suit against a state itself; such a
defendant is immune. Will, 491 U.S. at 71. In
enacting Section 1983, Congress did not intend to abrogate
“well-established immunities or defenses” under
the common law or the Eleventh Amendment. Id. at 67.
Arms or agencies of the state, such as the Department of
Corrections, are therefore immune from suit. See Alabama
v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978) (per curiam)
(“There can be no doubt, however, that suit against the
State and its Board of Corrections is barred by the Eleventh
Amendment, unless [Georgia] has consented to the filing of
such a suit.”); Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S.
651, 663 (1974); Pugh v. Balish, 564 ...