United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION
STEPHEN HYLES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
se Plaintiff William R. Jackson, Jr., has filed a
complaint seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff also seeks to proceed without prepayment of the
full filing fee (ECF No. 3). See 28 U.S.C. §
1915. The undersigned has reviewed Plaintiff's
non-prisoner motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) and based on his submissions, finds that
Plaintiff is presently unable pay the Court's filing fee.
Plaintiff's motion (ECF No. 3) is therefore GRANTED and
his Complaint is now ripe for screening under 28 U.S.C.
Standard of Review
Plaintiff is proceeding IFP in this case, the Court will
conduct a preliminary screening of Plaintiff's Complaint
in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). When screening a complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e), the Court must accept all factual allegations
in the complaint as true. Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d
1157, 1159-60 (11th Cir. 2003). Pro se pleadings,
like the one in this case, are “held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and
will, therefore, be liberally construed.” Id.
Still, § 1915(e)(2) requires a district court to dismiss
the complaint of a party proceeding IFP whenever the court
determines the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).
is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact.” Miller v. Donald, 541 F.3d
1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks
omitted). The Court may dismiss claims that are based on
“indisputably meritless legal” theories and
“claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not
include “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)). The factual allegations in a complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level” and cannot “merely create a
suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (first alteration in
original). In other words, the complaint must allege
enough facts “to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence” supporting a claim.
Id. at 556. “Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
state a claim for relief under § 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 act or omission was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
Hale v. Tallapoosa Cty., 50 F.3d 1579, 1582 (11th
Cir. 1995). If a litigant cannot satisfy these requirements
or fails to provide factual allegations in support of his
claim or claims, the complaint is subject to dismissal.
See Chappell v. Rich, 340 F.3d 1279, 1282-84 (11th
Plaintiff's Claims & Factual Allegations
alleges that the above-captioned action “is an ongoing
case that needs to be resolve, settle.” Compl. 1, ECF
No. 1. However, it appears Plaintiff is actually referring to
a case he previously filed in this Court, Jackson v.
Washington, No. 4:12-cv-00235-CDL-MSH (M.D. Ga. Sept.
11, 2012) (“Jackson I”). In Jackson
I, Plaintiff alleged that he had an altercation with
Defendant Strickland, his cellmate, on September 1, 2012, in
which Plaintiff suffered a broken wrist as well as injuries
to his head, neck, and shoulder, among other things.
Jackson I, Am. Compl. 5, ECF No. 9. In this action,
Plaintiff again contends that Defendant Strickland assaulted
him on September 1, 2012, breaking his wrist and causing back
and head injuries. Compl. 1. Plaintiff states that he still
suffers pain and ongoing complications from this assault, for
which he is seeking compensation. Id.
Jackson I, the Court found that Defendant
Strickland, an inmate and private citizen, did not act under
color of state law for purposes of § 1983 and dismissed
Plaintiff's claims against him without prejudice. See
Jackson I, Order & R. 4, 12, ECF No. 21; Jackson
I, Order Adopting Order & R., ECF No. 35. Plaintiff
has pleaded no additional facts in the above-captioned action
that suggest that Defendant Strickland was somehow a state
actor when he assaulted Plaintiff on September 1, 2012.
Plaintiff's Complaint in this case is thus subject to
dismissal. See Hale, 50 F.3d at 1581; see also
Simonton v. Tennis, 437 Fed.Appx. 60, 62 (3d Cir. 2011)
(per curiam) (affirming dismissal of plaintiff's claims
against fellow inmate where the complaint contained no
allegations suggesting that inmate “acted under color
of state law or conspired with state actors to deny [the
plaintiff] his constitutional rights”).
addition, it appears Plaintiff's claims against Defendant
Strickland are now time-barred. The limitations period for
filing a § 1983 claim is controlled by state law.
Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 266 (1985). In
Georgia, the proper limitations period for a section 1983
claim is the two-year period prescribed for personal injury
claims in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Williams v. City of
Atlanta, 794 F.2d 624, 626 (11th Cir. 1986). Although
state law determines the applicable statute of limitations
period for claims under § 1983, federal law determines
the date of accrual. Rozar v. Mullis, 85 F.3d 556,
561 (11th Cir. 1996). Under § 1983, a claim accrues when
the plaintiff knows or has reason to know he has been
injured, and he is or should be aware of who injured him.
Id. at 562.
Plaintiff has pleaded that he was injured on September 1,
2012. Compl. 1. Plaintiff thus had two years from September
1, 2012 to file his § 1983 claims. Plaintiff did not
refile his claims against Defendant Strickland here until
December of 2017, and he has not asserted a reason that the
statute of limitations was-or should be-tolled. Therefore,
Plaintiff's claims are now time-barred and subject to
dismissal on that basis. See Hughes v. Lott, 350
F.3d 1157, 1163 (11th Cir. 2003) (dismissal appropriate on
statute of limitations grounds where plaintiff pointed the
court “to no particular reason why the statute of
limitations might be tolled in his case” and the court
could “discern none from the record”).
on the foregoing, Plaintiff's motion to proceed IFP (ECF
No. 3) is GRANTED, but it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's
Complaint be DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff's pending
“motion to continue” (ECF No. 2), in which ...