United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
DONALD M. RICHARDS, JR., Plaintiff,
SGT. WILL PURVIS; CPL. TIMOTHY SHEPHERD; OFC. CHASE SNELLGROVE; and OFC. CHRISTOPHER MADISON, Defendants.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
formerly incarcerated at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville,
Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 regarding events alleged to have occurred
at Dodge County Law Enforcement Center in Eastman, Georgia.
He is proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis (“IFP”). 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). Pleadings drafted by pro
se litigants must be liberally construed, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), but the Court may
dismiss a complaint, or any part thereof, that is frivolous
or malicious or that fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) &
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
names the following Defendants: (1) Sergeant Will Purvis; (2)
Corporal Timothy Shepherd; (3) Officer Chase Snellgrove; and
(4) Officer Christopher Madison. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1.) Taking
all of Plaintiff's allegations as true, as the Court must
for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as
August 6, 2016, Taurus Holloway and Thomas Jolly attacked and
robbed Plaintiff in his cell. (Doc. no. 1, p. 4.) Sergeant
Daniels and his crew were working during this time.
(Id.) After the attack, Plaintiff notified jail
officers of the attack, which resulted in removal of Messrs.
Holloway and Jolly from Plaintiff's pod to another pod.
(Id.) Plaintiff went to medical for treatment and
was then brought back to his cell. (Id.) Plaintiff
understood Dodge County standard operating procedure to mean
Messrs. Holloway and Jolly would have no more contact with
Plaintiff after the altercation. (Id.) On October
25, 2016, Defendants transported Mr. Holloway into
Plaintiff's pod, and Plaintiff and Mr. Holloway got into
another fight. (Id.) Plaintiff received multiple
injuries to his head and face, and he was transported to
Dodge County Hospital for treatment. (Id.)
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) (per curiam)
(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's Claims Are Time Barred
claims are subject to dismissal under the statute of
limitations applicable in Georgia. State law controls the
length of the statute of limitations period in § 1983
actions. Lawson v. Glover, 957 F.2d 801, 803 (11th
Cir. 1987); Abreu-Velez v. Board of Regents of
Univ. Sys. of Ga., 248 Fed.Appx. 116, 117 (11th Cir.
2007) (per curiam). In Georgia, such claims for
injuries to the person must be brought within two years of
their accrual. Williams v. City of Atlanta,
794 F.2d 624, 626 (11th Cir. 1986); Richards v. Cobb
County, Ga., 487 Fed.Appx. 556, 557 (11th Cir. 2012)
(per curiam); O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Although state
law determines the applicable statute of limitations period
for claims under § 1983, federal law determines the date
of accrual. See Brown v. Georgia. Bd. of Pardons &
Paroles, 335 F.3d 1259, 1261 (11th Cir. 2003); Rozar
v. Mullis, 85 F.3d 556, 561 (11th Cir. 1996). Under
§ 1983, a claim accrues when “the facts which
would support a cause of action are apparent or should be
apparent to a person with a reasonably prudent regard for his
rights.” Brown, 335 F.3d at 1261 (quoting
Rozar, 85 F.3d at 561-62).
knew or should have known of the injuries alleged in his
complaint, as well as who injured him, when the events
described in his complaint occurred, August 6 and October 25,
2016. Plaintiff did not date his complaint, which was
received and filed by the Clerk of Court on October 25, 2018.
(Doc. no. 1, p. 5.) However, giving Plaintiff every benefit
of the doubt, the earliest date appearing on any paperwork
associated with his initial filings is January 30, 2019,
roughly two years and three months after the alleged events