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Hall v. Hall

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

June 13, 2018

TRAVION TERRELL HALL, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILLIP HALL; RODNEY MCCLOUD; and MS. LEWIS, Defendant.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Telfair State Prison (“TSP”) in Helena, Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is proceeding IFP, Plaintiff's 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. 2006).

         I. SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT

         A. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff names as Defendants (1) Phillip Hall; (2) Rodney McCloud; and (3) Ms. Lewis. (Doc. no. 1, p. 1.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         On December 22, 2017, several gang members with knives threatened Plaintiff, telling him to leave the B-C-D building and they would be assault him if he returned. (Id. at 5.) Because Plaintiff left and did not return, he was given a disciplinary report for refusing housing and lost an opportunity to receive parole points. (Id.) Plaintiff was then placed in Room 118 in Building B-2. (Id.; doc. no. 1-1, p. 1.)

         While housed in Room 118, gang members came to Plaintiff's cell and assaulted him, beating him and placing him in a chokehold. (Doc. no. 1-1, p. 1.) They told him he needed to pack his stuff and get out of the dorm, and they escorted him to the officer booth. (Id.) When Sergeant Mathis arrived, Plaintiff informed her of the situation. (Id.) Instead of taking him to get medical attention from the assault, Sergeant Mathis placed him in segregation with a Crip roommate. (Id.) By notarized letter, Plaintiff norified all Defendants of him “being assaulted and threatened again for the second time.” (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff has also written several statements and grievances about the incident. (Id. at 1-3.)

         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 Fed.Appx. 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)).

         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. Direc TV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).

         2. Plaintiff Fails to State a Claim for Supervisory Liability Against Defendants

         Plaintiff attempts to hold Defendants liable because they knew about the gang assault after the fact but took no action. However, “[s]upervisory officials are not liable under § 1983 for the unconstitutional acts of their subordinates on the basis of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.” Hartley v. Parnell, 193 F.3d 1263, 1269 (11th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Dalrymple v. Reno, 334 F.3d 991, 995 (11th Cir. 2003). “Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to § 1983 actions, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.” Rosa v. Fla. Dep't of Corr., 522 Fed.Appx. 710, 714 (11th Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676) (internal quotations omitted). Therefore, to hold a supervisor liable, Plaintiff must demonstrate that either (1) he actually participated in the alleged constitutional violation, or (2) there is a causal connection between his actions and the alleged constitutional violation. See Hartley, 193 F.3d at 1269 (citing Brown v. ...


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