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Killens v. Stevenson

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

September 17, 2019

SHERIFF CHRIS STEVENSON; LT. FNU MOON; OFC. 1; OFC. 2; OFC. 3; and OFC. 4, Defendants.



         Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee at Laurens County Jail in Dublin, Georgia, brought the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 regarding events alleged to have occurred at Telfair County Jail in McRae, Georgia. Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis (“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).


         A. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff names as Defendants: (1) Sheriff Chris Stevenson; (2) Lieutenant FNU Moon; and (3) OFC. #1-4. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         Plaintiff was detained at Telfair County Jail from March 7 to March 12, 2019. (Id. at 6.) On March 7, 2019, Plaintiff complained to one of the jail officers on duty, who had no professional medical training, about his blood pressure and an open wound on his finger. (Id. at 5.) The officer measured Plaintiff s blood pressure to be 175/160. (Id.) Plaintiff received no medical treatment at the time. Additionally, Plaintiffs head was hurting, and his feet were swollen. (Id.) Plaintiff continued to complain over the next couple of days to Jane and John Doe officers, Defendants OFC. #1-4, stating his blood pressure was above normal, he was at a high risk of stroke, and he had severe headaches and foot swelling. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges the officers at Telfair County Jail had no medical training and there was no medical professional on call to handle medical situations. (Id.) Plaintiff also complained about Telfair County Jail having black mold and no ventilation system, being “non-habitable, ” and containing asbestos. (Id. at 8.)

         From March 7 to March 10, 2019, Plaintiffs blood pressure was recorded to be as high as 208/180. (Id. at 5.) Lt. Moon said he would take Plaintiff to urgent care because of the high blood pressure readings but never did (Id.) On March 11, 2019, a female jail officer took Plaintiff to urgent care, where a doctor prescribed Plaintiff an antibiotic for a sinus infection and blood pressure medication. (Id. at 8.)

         Plaintiff filed a grievance and wrote a newspaper article regarding his medical treatment, complaining about black mold, his blood pressure, and the lack of medical staff at the jail. (Id. at 10.) Upon receiving Plaintiffs grievance, Sheriff Christ Stevenson retaliated against Plaintiff and transported him to Dodge County jail. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff was not allowed to bring any of his personal property. (Id.) Plaintiff wrote to Sheriff Stevenson but received no response. ( 11.) Plaintiff's family then called Sheriff Stevenson, and Sheriff Stevenson stated he transferred Plaintiff because of the grievance and newspaper article written by Plaintiff. (Id.)

         For relief, Plaintiff requests Sheriff Stevenson be penalized and forced to resign as Sheriff of Telfair County. (Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiff also requests $25, 000 in damages against Sheriff Stevenson in his official capacity and $10, 000 in his individual capacity. (Id.) Plaintiff requests $25, 000 in damages against Lt. Moon in his official capacity and $5, 000 in his individual capacity for delaying medical care. (Id.) Lastly, Plaintiff requests $2, 500 each from OFC. #1-4 in their official and individual capacities for delaying medical care. (Id.)

         B. DISCUSSION

         1. Legal Standard for Screening

         The 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)).

         To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the allegations in the 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. 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. 8(a)(2)).

         Finally, 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. Haines v. Kerner,404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, this liberal construction does not mean that the court has a duty ...

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