United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EFPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an inmate at Augusta State Medical Prison
(“ASMP”) in Grovetown, Georgia, is proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) in this case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Because he is proceeding 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. 2006).
SCREENING OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
names as Defendants: (1) Edward Philbin, Warden; (2) Tommy
Tremble, Deputy Warden of Security; and (3) Michael Allen,
C.O. II. (Doc. no. 9, pp. 1-2.) Taking all of Plaintiff's
allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the
present screening, the facts are as follows.
March 28, 2018, Plaintiff was housed in the 12-A-1 lockdown
unit at ASMP. (Id. at 2.) Officer Allen escorted
Plaintiff to the showers during a routine shower call.
(Id.) Officer Allen handcuffed Plaintiff behind his
back and led Plaintiff out of his cell. (Id.) As
they approached a nearby cell, two inmates without restraints
unlawfully managed to get out of their cell and clearly had
an intent to cause Plaintiff harm. (Id. at 3.)
Officer Allen abandoned Plaintiff until backup arrived called
in by another officer. (Id.) Officer Allen did not
have a radio in his possession when the incident occurred.
(Id.) Officer Allen also did not have a nightstick,
taser, partner, or pepper spray to protect himself or
Plaintiff. (Id.) The inmates punched, kicked, and
beat Plaintiff with a combination lock. (Id.)
Plaintiff was hospitalized as a result of the attack and
received three staples on his head for his injuries.
Allen was unprepared for the attack although a similar
incident occurred before in the unit and a few times
afterward. (Id.) Several prison guards and
supervisors, including Warden Philbin and Deputy Warden
Tremble, knew or should have known the locks on several doors
in the unit were faulty and there was a substantial risk
Plaintiff would be seriously harmed. (Id. at 3-4.)
Officer Allen's decision to escort Plaintiff alone was a
violation of Georgia Department of Corrections policy and
could have resulted in Plaintiff being killed. (Id.
at 4.) Plaintiff seeks as relief the following: (1)
declaratory relief; (2) $135, 000 in compensatory damages
against Defendants, jointly and severally; (3) $50, 000 in
punitive damages against each Defendant; (4) recovery of
costs; and (5) any relief the Court deems just, proper, and
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 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)).
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, the allegations in the amended
complaint must “state a claim for 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. An
amended 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 amended 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. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). 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).
Defendants Philbin and Tremble Cannot Be Held Liable Based on
a Theory of Supervisory Liability
amended complaint fails to state a claim against Defendants
Philbin and Tremble because he is attempting to hold them
liable merely in light of their supervisory positions.
Therefore, he fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted against these Defendants. “Supervisory
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 Rosa v. Fla. Dep't of Corr., 522 Fed.Appx.
710, 714 (11th Cir. 2013). Likewise, supervisors and
employers cannot be sued under § 1983 simply on a theory
of respondeat superior. See Kruger v. Jenne, 164
F.Supp.2d 1330, 1333-34 (S.D. Fla. ...