United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
formerly an inmate at Ware State Prison in Waycross, Georgia,
filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
contesting certain conditions of his confinement. (Doc. 1.)
For the reasons set forth below, I RECOMMEND
the Court DISMISS without prejudice
Plaintiff's conditions of confinement claim and
DENY Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma
pauperis as to this claim. However, Plaintiff arguably
states a colorable deliberate indifference to safety claim
against Defendant Chapman. Accordingly, the Court
DIRECTS the United States Marshal to serve a
copy of Plaintiff's Complaint and this Order upon
alleges he was assaulted by a Bloods gang member on December
19, 2016, and was placed in solitary confinement because he
refused to go back into the dormitory after the assault.
(Doc. 1, p. 3.) Plaintiff asserts he wrote administrative
personnel the following day, explained what happened, and
requested that he be transferred or placed on protective
custody. On January 23, 2017, Plaintiff contends Defendant
Chapman came to his cell and told him to pack his things
because Plaintiff “was going back to the
compound.” (Id.) Plaintiff states Defendant
Chapman knew a Bloods gang member had assaulted Plaintiff,
and Plaintiff was told not to come back to the compound or he
would be killed because a Bloods gang member's cousin was
killed “on [his] case.” (Id.) Plaintiff
avers he told Defendant Chapman he feared for his life if he
was going to be placed back on the compound and asked whether
Defendant Chapman would ask for Plaintiff to be transferred
to another prison or be placed on protective custody.
Defendant Chapman told Plaintiff he would entertain neither
of those requests. Instead, Plaintiff contends Defendant
Chapman told him he would write a disciplinary report against
Plaintiff, and he could either go back on the compound or to
the Tier II program. (Id.)
asserts he received a disciplinary report for failure to
follow instructions based on his refusal to go back to the
compound, and he filed a grievance, to which he has failed to
receive a response. (Id. at pp. 3-4.) As a result of
the disciplinary report, Plaintiff asserts he received
forty-five (45) days' store, phone, and package
restrictions. (Id. at p. 4.) He maintains he is
being threatened with placement in Tier II for trying to
remain safe, even though the Tier II program is supposed to
be an offender management process, not punitive in nature.
states he was confined to his cell for twenty-four (24) hours
a day since December 19, 2016, without any recreation time.
Plaintiff also states the only time he was removed from his
cell was to shower three times a week, and he was not been
given any contact visits or phone calls. Plaintiff contends
he has been diagnosed with mental health issues, and the
conditions he was forced to live with exacerbate his mental
health conditions. (Id.)
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. Under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the
filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if
the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement
of all of his assets, shows an inability to pay the filing
fee, and also includes a statement of the nature of the
action which shows that he is entitled to redress. Even if
the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the
action if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a complaint in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity.
Upon such screening, the Court must dismiss a complaint, or
any portion thereof, that is frivolous, malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or which
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Court looks to the instructions for pleading contained in the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a complaint
on an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (“A pleading that states a
claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10
(requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs,
each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a
claim is frivolous under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if
it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or
fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528,
531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251
F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).
a complaint fails to state a claim under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 Fed.Appx. 675, 678
(11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must
determine whether the complaint contains “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)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251
F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 327 (1989)).
analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle
that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and,
therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006)
(“Pro se pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys . . .
.”) (quoting Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157,
1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However, Plaintiff's
unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes regarding
procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendant Chapman
contentions that Defendant Chapman was deliberately
indifferent to a risk to Plaintiff's safety implicate the
Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual
punishment. That proscription imposes a constitutional duty
upon prison officials to take reasonable measures to
guarantee the safety of prison inmates. Caldwell v.
Warden, FCI Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1099-100 (11th
Cir. 2014). While “[p]rison officials have a duty . . .
to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners[, i]t is not, however, every injury suffered by one
prisoner at the hands of another that translates into a
constitutional liability. . . .” Purcell ex rel.
Estate of Morgan v. Toombs County, 400 F.3d 1313, 1319
(11th Cir. 2005) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
an Eighth Amendment violation, a plaintiff must “allege
facts sufficient to show ‘(1) a substantial risk of
serious harm; (2) the defendants' deliberate indifference
to that risk; and (3) causation.'” Lane v.
Philbin, 835 F.3d 1302, 1307 (11th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Hale, 50 F.3d at 1582). The Court assesses the first
element-a substantial risk of serious harm-under an objective
standard. Caldwell, 748 F.3d at 1099. The objective
component requires a plaintiff to show that the condition he
complains of is sufficiently serious to violate the Eighth
Amendment. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8
(1992); Chandler v. Crosby, 379 F.3d 1278, 1289-90
(11th Cir. 2004).
second element-defendant's deliberate indifference to a
substantial risk of serious harm-has three components:
“(1) subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm;
(2) disregard of that risk; (3) by conduct that is more than
mere negligence.” Farrow v. West, 320 F.3d
1235, 1245 (11th Cir. 2003) (citing McElligott v.
Foley, 182 F.3d 1248, 1255 (11th Cir.
1999)). The “subjective knowledge of a risk
of serious harm” component requires a defendant ...