United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
who is presently incarcerated at Rogers State Prison in
Reidsville, Georgia, brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 as a result of injuries he sustained on April 8,
2018 while being transported from Reidsville Hospital to
Rogers State Prison. Doc. 1. After the requisite frivolity
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I
RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS
Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety,
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to enter the
appropriate judgment of dismissal and CLOSE
this case, and DENY Plaintiff in forma
pauperis status on appeal.
alleges that on the morning of April 8, 2018, he was
transported via van from Reidsville Hospital to Rogers State
Prison by two prison officials. Doc. 1 at 2. Upon arriving at
Rogers State Prison's detail back gate at approximately
6:30 a.m., an officer proceeded to remove Plaintiff from the
transport van. Id. The officer opened the side door
of the van and placed a crate on the ground for Plaintiff to
step on when he exited the van. Id. At the time,
Plaintiff's legs were shackled and his hands were
shackled and cuffed to his side. Id. The officer
held Plaintiff's left arm as Plaintiff stepped out of the
van and onto the crate but let go before both of
Plaintiff's legs were on the crate. Id.
Plaintiff proceeded to fall to the ground, injuring his eye,
forehead, cheekbone, and lips. Id. Plaintiff was
immediately taken to medical by the officer. Id.
is bringing this action in forma pauperis. 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 of his assets, 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 if it fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, under 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. § 1915A(b).
Court looks to the instructions for pleadings contained in
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a
complaint on an application to proceed in forma
pauperis. 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
Plaintiff's Claim Against the State of Georgia
names the State of Georgia as his sole Defendant.
See Doc. 1. “To establish a claim under §
1983, a plaintiff must show that he ‘was deprived of a
federal right by a person acting under color of state
law.'” Gardner v. Riska, 444 Fed.Appx.
353, 355 (11th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). In the case of
Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, the
United States Supreme Court, citing to longstanding
principles of state immunity, concluded that “a State
is not a person within the meaning of § 1983.” 491
U.S. 58, 64 (1989). The Supreme Court, in reaching its
conclusion, stated that, “We find nothing substantial
in the legislative history that leads us to believe that
Congress intended that the word ‘person' in §
1983 included the States of the Union.” Id. at
69. Additionally, states have long been considered immune
from suit in federal courts under the provisions of the
Eleventh Amendment, unless such immunity is waived. See
Welch v. Tex. Dep't of Highways & Pub. Transp.,
483 U.S. 468, 472 (1987) (“[T]he Court long ago held
that the Eleventh Amendment bars a citizen from bringing suit
against the citizen's own State in federal court. . .
.”); see also Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332,
345 (1979) (“[Section] 1983 does not explicitly and by
clear language indicate on its face an intent to sweep away
the immunity of the States.”). For these reasons,
Plaintiff cannot sustain a § 1983 action against the
State of Georgia, and I, therefore,
RECOMMEND that the Court
DISMISS Plaintiff's action.
Plaintiff's Deliberate Indifference Claim
Plaintiff had sued a viable defendant, he would still fail to
state a claim. As detailed in Plaintiff's Complaint, he
seeks monetary damages for injuries he sustained while
disembarking from a prison transport van. Doc. 1 at 2. He
alleges he fell when the officer who was assisting him off
the van let go of his arm. Id. Plaintiff does not
challenge the response of the officer after the fall, as he
notes that the officer immediately took Plaintiff to ...