United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a pretrial detainee at Burke County Jail in Waynesboro,
Georgia, has submitted to the Court for filing an amended
complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because
he is proceeding in forma pauperis
(“IFP”), Plaintiff's amended complaint must
be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v.
Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984);
Al-Amin v. Donald, 165 Fed.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir.
SCREENING OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
names as Defendants: (1) Sheriff Alfonzo Williams; (2) Major
John Bush; (3) Major Chester Huffman; (4) Captain Cassandra
Haynes; (5) Sergeant J. Wright; and (6) Investigator Ben
Harmon. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 2-4.) Taking all of Plaintiff's
factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes
of the present screening, the facts are as follows.
October 22, 2017, Plaintiff was arrested and taken to the
Burke County Detention Center (“BCDC”).
(Id. at 14.) Mrs. Priscilla Dann arrived at BCDC and
asked for the keys to Plaintiff's vehicle. (Id.)
Sgt. Wright asked Plaintiff if Mrs. Dann could have the keys.
(Id.) Plaintiff asked Sgt. Wright why he would give
Ms. Dann the keys when he was “locked up” and
told Sgt. Wright to tell Mrs. Dann he “still love[s]
her.” (Id.) Plaintiff did not give Sgt. Wright
permission to give her the keys and did not sign a property
release form. (Id.)
October 27, 2017, Plaintiff found out from his mother Mrs.
Dann was driving his vehicle. (Id.) Plaintiff began
to file grievances and to request charges against Sgt.
Wright. (Id.) Plaintiff's mother called the
Burke County Sheriff's Office to report the vehicle
stolen. (Id.) On October 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
grievance to Major Huffman stating Sgt. Wright was negligent
and in violation of jail regulations by giving his property
away without his permission and a signed release.
(Id.) Plaintiff's grievance was “marked
received and closed.” on November 1, 2017.
(Id.) On November 2, 2017, Sgt. Wright pulled
Plaintiff into the hall where no cameras were located, shook
Plaintiff's grievance in his face, and tried to
intimidate and “coach” Plaintiff into saying he
had given Sgt. Wright permission. (Id. at 15.)
Plaintiff repeated he did not give Sgt. Wright permission.
(Id.) Plaintiff reported anxiety attacks at sick
call as a result of the deprivation. (Id.) Plaintiff
wrote additional grievances to Major Bush requesting forms
for “Administrative Remedy Program relief.”
November 7, 2017, Plaintiff asked Sherriff Williams for some
time to talk about his vehicle, but Sheriff Williams ignored
Plaintiff. (Id.) Thirty minutes later, Sgt. Wright
took Plaintiff to Major Bush and Captain Haynes.
(Id.) Plaintiff explained his grievance.
(Id.) Captain Haynes attempted to call
Plaintiff's “children's mother” and then
Mrs. Dann but did not receive a response from either.
November 8, 2017, Plaintiff met Ben Harmon, an investigator
from the Burke County Sheriff's Office. (Id. at
16.) Inv. Harmon told Plaintiff his vehicle was now in the
stolen vehicle database and asked Plaintiff if he knew how to
contact Mrs. Dann. (Id.) Plaintiff said the only way
was through Facebook, so Inv. Harmon logged onto
Plaintiff's Facebook account and attempted to contact
Mrs. Dann. (Id.) Mrs. Dann then called and told Inv.
Harmon she had Plaintiff's vehicle and offered to leave
it at the Albany Fairgrounds to be towed. (Id.) Inv.
Harmon told Mrs. Dann not to leave the truck and informed her
there was an internal investigation about the vehicle.
(Id.) Inv. Harmon did not attempt to contact law
enforcement in Albany to obtain the vehicle. (Id.)
Inv. Harmon admitted a policy violation occurred.
(Id. at 17.)
grievances were closed on November 8, 2017, indicating
Plaintiff had met with Inv. Harmon, there was no violation of
criminal law, and the policy violation was being addressed.
(Id. at 16.) On November 19, 2017, Major Huffman
responded to Plaintiff's grievance by saying Plaintiff
would not receive privileged information about any
disciplinary actions that may occur and directing him to
contact Inv. Harmon about the matter if he wanted additional
information. (Id.) Major Hoffman admitted an
administrative violation occurred. (Id.)
December 1, 2017, Deputy Thomas told Plaintiff he would speak
to someone about Plaintiff “want[ing] to sign a
warrant” regarding his vehicle, but Captain Haynes told
Deputy Thomas not to because the matter was being handled.
(Id.) On December 9, 2017, Officer Tyler told
Plaintiff he knew Sgt. Wright gave away Plaintiff's truck
“illegally” because regulations require signed
permission and do not allow officers to remove individual
items from sealed property bags, as Sgt. Wright did here with
Plaintiff's keys. (Id.) On February 27, 2018,
Lieutenant Williams asked Plaintiff. “what the jail was
doing about [his] vehicle.” (Id.) Plaintiff
requests “administrative relief” in the amount of
$60, 000 in compensation for his vehicle and personal
belongings. (Id. at 18.)
Legal Standard for Screening.
amended 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, 327 (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 ...