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Myers v. Reynolds

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

January 30, 2018

ROBERT LEE MYERS, Inmate
v.
FRANK REYNOLDS, Defendant.

         PRISONER CIVIL RIGHTS 42 U.S.C. § 1983

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JUSTIN S. ANAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Robert Lee Myers's pro se civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docs. 1, 4, 6, 12). The matter is before the Court for a frivolity screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         I. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A Frivolity Review

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a federal court is required to conduct an initial screening of a prisoner complaint to determine whether the action is: (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. A claim is frivolous, and must be dismissed, when it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Miller v. Donald, 541 F.3d 1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008). A district court also may dismiss a complaint if the alleged facts do not state a plausible claim for relief. Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co., 578 F.3d 1252, 1260 (11th Cir. 2009).

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 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 deprivation occurred under color of state law. Richardson v. Johnson, 598 F.3d 734, 737 (11th Cir. 2010). If a plaintiff cannot satisfy those requirements, or fails to provide factual allegations in support of the claim, the complaint may be dismissed. Id. at 737-38.

         II. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Claims

         On June 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court against Frank Reynolds, Sheriff of Cherokee County. (Doc. 1). Therein, Plaintiff alleged that he was “kicked by police” and sent to solitary confinement, and that once he was transferred to a different institution he discovered some medical “problems” not previously discovered. (Id.). Because there were not enough details, the Court ordered Plaintiff to amend the complaint on June 27, 2017, by, inter alia, “providing detailed factual allegations, including the events leading up to, during, and after Plaintiff was kicked and by whom, as well as what injuries and/or medical conditions Plaintiff suffered as a result[.]” (Doc. 2).

         Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on July 12, 2017, again naming only Sheriff Reynolds. (Doc. 4). Therein, Plaintiff states that he does not know what officer kicked him and threw him “in the hole.” (Id. at 3). Plaintiff also attached what appears to be a doctor's report indicating that Plaintiff possibly has a torn rotator cuff. (Id. at 6). Because the Court still found the complaint lacked sufficient details to analyze whether Plaintiff stated a claim under § 1983, the undersigned provided Plaintiff with one more chance to amend the complaint on November 21, 2017. (Doc. 11). In another amended complaint, all Plaintiff stated was that “I don't know the names of the officers that did the kicking. I was stuck in 23 hour lockdown.” (Doc. 12 at 4). Thus, the only allegations the Court can glean from the complaint are that Plaintiff was kicked by unidentified officers and thrown into the hole, and apparently suffered a torn rotator cuff, which doctors at the prisons in which he was previously incarcerated did not diagnose.

         B. Analysis of Plaintiff's Claims

         First, Plaintiff's allegation that he was kicked by unknown officers is a claim of excessive force. In analyzing a claim of excessive force in violation of the Constitution, “[t]he core judicial inquiry . . . [is] . . . whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.”[1] Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 37 (2010); Hudson v. McMillan, 503 U.S. 1, 1-2 (1992). Factors courts should consider include the need for application of the force, the relationship between that need and the amount of force used, the threat reasonably perceived by the official, and any efforts made to temper the severity of a forceful response. Fennell v. Gilstrap, 559 F.3d 1212, 1217 (11th Cir. 2009).

         Plaintiff, however, fails to state a viable excessive force claim because, despite this Court's efforts to try to get Plaintiff do so, Plaintiff has provided no factual details to support that claim, i.e., the events leading up to, during, and after Plaintiff was kicked. In short, Plaintiff's vague allegations of being kicked by unidentified “officers” fails to state a claim on which relief could be granted. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (noting that “[f]actual allegations [in a complaint] must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”). Moreover, Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant Reynolds, the only Defendant in this action, participated in the kicking in any manner or that he instituted a custom or policy that resulted in the excessive force.

         Nor does Plaintiff connect Defendant Reynolds to his allegations that he was improperly held in segregation for too long or for the alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Instead, Plaintiff appears to attach ...


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