United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
JOSE L. NIEVES, Plaintiff,
WARDEN O'NEAL and MS. MOODY, Correctional Officer, Defendants.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an inmate at Hancock State Prison, filed his complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, concerning events alleged
to have occurred at Telfair State Prison (“TSP”)
in Helena, Georgia. 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) (per curiam).
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
names the following Defendants: (1) TSP Warden O'Neal,
and (2) TSP Officer Ms. Moody. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Taking
all of Plaintiff's allegations as true, as the Court must
for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as
13, 2018, Defendant Moody called a “lockdown for
store” using profanity and displaying aggressive
behavior. (Id. at 5.) When she reached
Plaintiff's cell, he tried to explain his cellmate was on
his way back, but Defendant Moody announced she did not care
and “proceeded to remove the rag from the top of the
cell door.” (Id.) When Plaintiff attempted to
retrieve the rag from the floor, Defendant Moody
“maliciously slammed the door on [Plaintiff's]
right hand amputating [his] right thumb instantly leaving
[his] bone exposed.” (Id.) Even though
Plaintiff showed Defendant Moody his thumb on the floor, she
left without offering, or calling for, assistance.
fellow inmate helped Plaintiff to the medical department, and
Plaintiff received treatment at the hospital. (Id.)
When the doctor asked to keep Plaintiff overnight to
administer pain medication, Defendant O'Neal
“stated as soon as they were done with
[Plaintiff's] stiches to send [Plaintiff] back to the
prison.” (Id.) Upon his return to TSP,
Plaintiff did not receive any pain medication for twenty-one
hours, and he now cannot use his right hand properly.
(Id.) Among other things, Plaintiff seeks $250, 000
in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages
from each Defendant. (Id. at 6.)
Legal Standard for Screening
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)).
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
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.
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. DirecTV, Inc., 450
F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).
Plaintiff Fails to State a Valid Claim against Defendant
O'Neal cannot be held liable for the acts of medical
providers at TSP merely by virtue of his supervisory position
as a Warden at TSP. “Supervisory officials are not
liable under § 1983 for the unconstitutional acts of
their subordinates on the basis of respondeatsuperior 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. 2000) (citing
Powell v. ...