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Bradley v. Augusta State Medical Prison Dental Department

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

February 2, 2018




         Plaintiff, an inmate at Hays State Prison (“HSP”) in Trion, Georgia, is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in this civil rights case. Because Plaintiff is proceeding IFP, his 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).


         A. Background

         Plaintiff names the following Defendants: (1) Augusta State Medical Prison (“ASMP”) Dental Department; (2) Mr. Conley, former Warden at ASMP; (3) Mr. Shephard, former Warden at ASMP; and (4) Mr. Brown, former Warden at ASMP. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Taking all of Plaintiff's allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         In January of 2016, prison officials at HSP sent Plaintiff to ASMP to obtain treatment for mental and physical injuries incurred as the result of a prison rape. (Id. at 6.) However, Plaintiff's rape was not treated as an emergency, and he had to wait several weeks to obtain treatment. (Id.) The “Dental Department” at ASMP took an x-ray of Plaintiff's jaw on January 26, 2016, but did not show the x-ray to Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff “walked around with a broken jaw hinge. A big fracture on left bottom side. [and] [His] bottom teeth and gums were separated.” (Id.) He could not chew anything for two to three weeks because of his dental issues. (Id.)

         Plaintiff has also included with his filings in this case attachments that appear to have come from a case he has pending in the Rome Division of the Northern District of Georgia. (Id. at 5, 8 (citing Bradley v. Crickmar, 4:17-CV-0193-HLM-WEJ (N.D.Ga. Aug. 18, 2017)); see also doc. no. 4-2.)

         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)).

         Finally, 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. Pleading Deficiencies in Plaintiff's Complaint

         Here, because of pleading deficiencies, the Court cannot determine whether Plaintiff has any viable claims. The Eleventh Circuit has held that a district court properly dismisses a defendant where a prisoner, other than naming the defendant in the caption of the complaint, fails to state any allegations that associate the defendant with the purported constitutional violation. Douglas v. Yates, 535 F.3d 1316, 1321-22 (11th Cir. 2008) (“While we do not require technical niceties in pleading, we must demand that the complaint state with some minimal particularity how overt acts of the defendant caused a legal wrong.”). Plaintiff must describe how each individual participated in any alleged constitutional violation. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (requiring in a § 1983 case an allegation of the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States by a person acting under color of state law). Plaintiff never mentions three of the four named Defendants in his statement of claim. Moreover, based on the titles of these three Defendants who were not mentioned, they appear to be individuals with supervisory authority at ASMP, but “[s]upervisory officials are not liable under ...

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