United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action while incarcerated
at the Coffee Correctional Facility in Nicholls, Georgia, in
order to challenge certain conditions of his confinement.
Doc. 1. For the reasons below, I RECOMMEND
the Court DISMISS Plaintiff's request
for money damages against Defendants in their official
capacities. However, Plaintiff's deliberate claim shall
proceed against Defendants Gibbs and Sizemore. Consequently,
a copy of Plaintiff's Complaint, doc. 1, and a copy of
this Order shall be served upon Defendant Gibbs and Defendant
Sizemore by the United States Marshal without prepayment of
suffers from two chronic medical conditions-lower spine spina
bifida and scoliosis. Doc. 1 at 5-6. On May 30, 2017, Dr. G.
Augustin, a medical doctor at the Coffee Correctional
Facility (“CCF”), confirmed Plaintiff's
diagnoses after viewing an x-ray. Id. Due to these
medical conditions, Plaintiff was given a “bottom bunk
profile” while at CCF. Id. Plaintiff's
“bottom bunk profile” indicated to prison staff
that he should be assigned only to a bottom
was housed in “segregation (the hole)” at CCF
from October 11, 2016 until January 3, 2018. Id. On
January 3, 2018, prison officials moved Plaintiff out of
segregation and assigned him to a top bunk in dorm 8NN in
building 8. Plaintiff spoke with Defendant Gibbs, but
“she would not enforce [his] bottom bunk status,
” as that would necessitate moving another inmate out
of a bottom bunk. Id. Plaintiff alleges Defendant
Gibbs showed “preferential treatment” to some
inmates in dorm 8NN because these inmates “were
orderlies.” Id. Though those inmates did not
possess a bottom bunk profile and Plaintiff did, Defendant
Gibbs refused to reassign those inmates to a top bunk.
Id. Plaintiff then complained to Defendant Sizemore,
the unit manager. Id. Plaintiff alleges that
“getting off and on the top bunk caused greater back
pain and strain” and “made it difficult to even
walk [for] any length of time-especially to chow across the
yard.” Id. He experienced general difficulty
moving and sleeping. Id.
filed Grievance Number 260387 on February 5, 2018.
Id. Assistant Warden Ricky Stone denied that
grievance around February 23, 2018, and Plaintiff appealed.
Id. Plaintiff alleges his appeal was denied.
Id. at 5.
February 14, 2018, Dr. Augustin “reconfirmed”
Plaintiff's bottom bunk profile. Id. at 56. The next
day, Defendant Gibbs moved Plaintiff “from dorm 8NN,
where he was [assigned to] a top bunk, to dorm 8QQ, on a
bottom bunk.” Id. Though Defendant Gibbs moved
him, Plaintiff contends she “failed to remedy the
issue-at-bar-the favoritism she showed un-profiled bottom
bunk favorite inmates of hers.” Id. at 6.
alleges Defendants' failure to immediately assign
Plaintiff to a bottom bunk on January 3, 2018 and the 43-day
delay in doing so constitute deliberate indifference to his
medical needs. Plaintiff writes that this delay occurred only
because Defendant Gibbs “did not want to upset her
favorite, non-profiled inmates” by moving them to a top
bunk in order to open space to move Plaintiff to a bottom
April 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant
Gibbs and Sizemore. Doc. 1 at 4. As relief, Plaintiff
requests: (1) Defendant Gibbs be assigned to work somewhere
other than building 8, “as she has been in [that]
building too long and shows favoritism and preferential
treatment to select inmates”; (2) an injunction
preventing retaliation against Plaintiff for filing this
action; (3) $10, 750 in compensatory damages for the 43 days
Plaintiff “was denied adequate medical care,
[specifically] a bottom bunk for his back conditions, ”
calculated at $250 per day; and (4) $21, 500 (twice the value
of the compensatory damages requested) in punitive damages.
Id. at 6.
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the
Court may authorize the filing of a civil lawsuit without the
prepayment of fees if the plaintiff submits an affidavit that
includes a statement of all his assets and shows an inability
to pay the filing fee and also includes a statement of the
nature of the action which shows that he is entitled to
redress. Even if the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court
must dismiss the action if it is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a
complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity. Upon such screening, the Court must
dismiss a complaint, or any portion thereof, that is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or which seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
reviewing a complaint on an application to proceed in
forma pauperis, the Court is guided by the instructions
for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (“A pleading
that states a claim for relief must contain [among other
things] . . . a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10 (requiring that claims be set forth in
numbered paragraphs, each limited to a single set of
circumstances). Further, a claim is frivolous under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if it is ‘without arguable
merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v.
Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir.
a complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 Fed.Appx. 675, 678
(11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must
determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251
F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 327 (1989)).
analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle
that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and,
therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006)
(“Pro se pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys . . .
.” (quoting Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157,
1160 (11th Cir. 2003))). However, Plaintiff's
unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes regarding
procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed