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Williams v. Bowen

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

November 1, 2019

CARL DUANE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN TOMMY BOWEN; SHERRYL BLAIR; C.O. II CONEY; and LIEUTENANT JOHNSON, Defendants.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, incarcerated at Dodge State Prison (“DSP”) in Chester, Georgia, brought the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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).

         I. SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT

         A. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff names as Defendants: (1) Warden Tommy Bowen; (2) Sherryl Blair, Deputy Warden of Administration; (3) C.O. II Coney; and (4) Lieutenant Johnson. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1-3.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         On March 15, 2019, Plaintiff was eating his evening meal in the cafeteria at DSP. (Id. at 4-5.) While Plaintiff was eating, Defendants Blair, Coney, and Johnson harassed Plaintiff in an attempt to have Plaintiff throw away his meal. (Id. at 5.) Defendants Blair, Coney, and Johnson also threatened to spray Plaintiff with an unknown substance. (Id.) Defendants Blair, Coney, and Johnson did not care for Plaintiff's health, and their harassment forced Plaintiff to leave. (Id.) For relief, Plaintiff requests injunctive relief and unstated compensatory damages. (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 to re-write the complaint. Snow v. DirecTV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).

         2. Plaintiff Fails to State a Claim Against Warden Tommy Bowen

         The Eleventh Circuit has held that a district court properly dismisses a defendant where a plaintiff fails to state any allegations that associate the defendant with the purported constitutional violation. Douglas v. Yates, 535 F.3d 1316, 1321-22 (11th Cir. 2008) (“While we do not require technical niceties in pleading, we must demand that the complaint state with some minimal particularity how overt acts of the defendant caused a legal wrong.”). Plaintiff alleges no facts regarding Warden Tommy Bowen. Therefore, Plaintiff fails to state a claim against Warden Tommy Bowen.

         3. Plaintiff Fails to State a Claim Based on Allegations of ...


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