United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE
Carol Winstead brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
against Defendants Stanley Williams, Valderine Jackson, and
Marty Allen for deliberate indifference and retaliation.
Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc.
5.) Plaintiff filed a response and sur reply in opposition
(docs. 6, 9), and Defendants filed a reply in support. (Doc.
8.) Accordingly, the motion has been fully briefed and is
ripe for review.
was a prisoner at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville,
Georgia. (Compl., Doc. 1, ¶ 1.) On April 27, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a grievance with Defendant Jackson asking to
be moved to a different cell "citing problems with his
sexually violent and threatening roommate." (Compl.
¶ 7.) Plaintiff's grievance was denied and on June
8, 2016, Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by his cellmate.
assault was investigated by the Georgia Department of
Corrections ("GDOC") pursuant to the Prison Rape
Elimination Act ("PREA"), 34 U.S.C. § 30302.
(Id.) plaintiff allegedly filed grievances
concerning the attack. (Doc. 6, at 2; Doc. 9, at 3) On June
9, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred to Telfair State Prison,
which Plaintiff claims was punishment for reporting the
sexual assault. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff filed a
grievance protesting his transfer on November 23, 2016. (Doc.
5-4, at 2.)
April 13, 2017, Plaintiff initiated this action against
Defendants. Plaintiff claims that Defendants Williams and
Jackson's failure to transfer him to a different cell
demonstrated a deliberate indifference to his safety.
Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Allen's
decision to transfer Plaintiff to Telfair State Prison was in
retaliation for Plaintiff's grievances, and therefore
violated his First Amendment rights.
Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42
U.S.C. § 1997e, a prisoner must exhaust all
administrative remedies before filing an action challenging
the conditions of his confinement. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
Proper exhaustion requires a prisoner to comply with the
procedural rules of his prison's grievance process.
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006). If a
prisoner fails to properly exhaust his administrative
remedies, his claim will be dismissed. Johnson v.
Meadows, 418 F.3d 1152, 1159 (11th Cir. 2005).
motion to dismiss is normally confined to the four corners of
a complaint, the court may decide factual matters to ensure
that plaintiffs suing under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e have
exhausted their administrative remedies. Bryant v.
Rich, 530 F.3d 1368, 1374 (11th Cir. 2008). This
involves a two-step process. Turner v. Burnside, 541
F.3d 1077, 1082 (11th Cir. 2008). First, if the defendant
alleges conflicting facts in his motion to dismiss, the court
takes the plaintiff's allegations as true and decides if
those facts demonstrate proper exhaustion. Id. If
the plaintiff's claim survives step one, the court must
make specific findings to resolve any factual dispute. The
court then decides whether, under those findings, the
plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies.
Id. During this inquiry, the defendant bears the
burden of proving that a plaintiff has failed to exhaust his
available administrative remedies. Id.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a plaintiff's
complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To survive a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a
complaint must include enough "factual allegations to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level, "
and those facts must "state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545, 570 (2007). Although a
complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b) (6) motion need not be
buttressed by detailed factual allegations, the
plaintiff's pleading "requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Id. at 555. The
Rule 8 pleading standard "demands more than an
accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a
claim, however, "unless it appears beyond a doubt that
the plaintiff can prove no set of circumstances that would
entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also Robinson v. United
States, 484 Fed.Appx. 421, 423 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Lopez v. First Union Nat'1 Bank of Fla., 129
F.3d 1186, 1189 (11th Cir. 1997)). At this stage, courts must
accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint and
construe all reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Belanger v. Salvation
Army, 556 F.3d 1153, 1155 (11th Cir. 2009) (citing
Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262
(11th Cir. 2004)).