United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Georgia, has
filed an amended complaint in this civil rights case. Because
he is proceeding in forma pauperis
(“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.
SCREENING OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
originally filed this case in the Middle District of Georgia
on January 30, 2019. (Doc. no. 1.) On February 15, 2019, the
Middle District of Georgia transferred this case here because
Plaintiff's claims concerned his incarceration while at
Johnson State Prison (“JSP”), which is in the
Dublin Division of the Southern District of Georgia. (Doc.
no. 5.) After transfer, this Court granted Plaintiff leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. no. 8.) Plaintiff's
initial complaint consisted of fourteen pages naming six
Defendants who serve in a variety of positions ranging from
prison administrators, to medical staff, to correctional
officers at JSP. (See doc. no. 1.) Generally,
Plaintiff alleged a group of Mexican inmates stabbed him in a
cell at JSP, and he was subsequently mistreated by JSP prison
officials and medical personnel. (Id.)
March 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an
amended complaint in which he seeks to correct the spelling
of Defendant Caswell's name to Warden A. Caldwell and to
add defendants and claims relating to events alleged to have
occurred at Valdosta State Prison in Valdosta, Georgia
(“VSP”). (Doc. no. 14, p. 1.) He attached a
proposed amended complaint with his motion. (Id. at
2-8.) In his proposed amended complaint, Plaintiff clearly
states “[a]t all times relevant to this case Plaintiff
was housed at [VSP].” (Id. at 3.)
March 26, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend
his complaint; however, because Plaintiff was attempting to
piecemeal amend his complaint by adding his proposed amended
complaint to his original complaint, the Court instructed
Plaintiff to amend his complaint in whole within twenty-one
days of the March 26th Order. (Doc. no. 20.) The Court
further cautioned Plaintiff if he did not file an amended
complaint the Court would assume he only wished to proceed
with his proposed amended complaint, which only alleged facts
concerning VSP. (Id.)
simultaneously filed Order, the Court directed the Clerk to
docket Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint, as the
operative pleading in this case, as a stand-alone docket
entry. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff names as
Defendants: (1) Warden FNU Emmons; (2) Deputy Warden FNU
Jackson; (3) Officer FNU Johnson; (4) Officer FNU Pernell;
(5) SGT. FNU Rica Lewis; (6) Unit Manager Smith; (7) Officer
FNU Williams; (8) Officer FNU Mallard; (9) Officer FNU
Gibson; (10) SGT. FNU McCall; (11) Unknown Female Medical
Nurses; and (12) Unit Manager FNU Forbes (Doc. no. 14, p. 2.)
Taking all of Plaintiff's allegations as true, as the
Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts
are as follows.
specifically alleges all events in this case occurred at
Valdosta State Prison (“VSP”) in Valdosta,
Georgia. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff expressed concerns
over his safety to Officer Johnson and requested protective
custody because he felt threatened by Blood Gang members.
(Id.) On December 25, 2018, hours after Plaintiff
told Officer Johnson about his security issues, Blood gang
members surrounded Plaintiff's cell and called him a
snitch for requesting Officer Johnson's help.
(Id.) Later in January 2019, Plaintiff received a
new cellmate, Mr. Whitaker, who assaulted Plaintiff with a
weapon. (Id.) Plaintiff complained about Mr.
Whitaker to Sgt. Kern, Officer Williams, and Unit Manager
Smith until Unit Manager Smith saw Mr. Whitaker attack
Plaintiff again, causing Unit Manager Smith to confiscate Mr.
Whitaker's weapon and escort him to a different cell.
also alleges he was not allowed to have any clothes or bath
himself for two months. (Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff
generally alleges the conditions at VSP were unsanitary, and
he was not given the proper cleaning tools to clean his cell.
(Id. at 4.) In February 2019, Plaintiff continued to
write Defendants about receiving protective custody and the
uncleanliness of his cell. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges
he wrote multiple grievance about the events he alleges in
his complaint. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff alleges
numerous causes of actions against Defendants, including
Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to safety claims.
(Id. at 6-7.)
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 ...