United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS JUDGE
a federal pretrial detainee at Laurens County Jail in Dublin,
Georgia, brought the above-captioned case pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal
Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), concerning events
allegedly occurring at Burke County Jail (“BCJ”)
in Waynesboro, Georgia. The authority to maintain custody of
federal prisoners is one created by federal law and reserved
to the federal government. Accordingly, the Court construes
Plaintiff's complaint broadly as an attempt to state a
claim under Bivens rather than § 1983, which only
applies to state actors. 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).
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
names as Defendants: (1) Major John H. Bush; (2) Captain
Cassandra Haynes; (3) Major Chester V. Huffman; (4) Sergeant
Williams; (5) Burke County Sheriff's Department; and (6)
Jail Administrators. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1-2.) Taking all of
Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court
must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as
unknown date, whiled detained at BCJ, an officer called for
Plaintiff, and Plaintiff went to the front of BCJ to talk
with that officer. (Doc. no 1-3, p. 1.) Plaintiff believed he
was being called because his attorney came to talk about
Plaintiff's court appearance the following day.
(Id.) However, Plaintiff was being transferred to
Jefferson County Jail (“JCJ”) in Louisville,
Georgia. (Id.) Plaintiff did not learn he was being
transferred until after being escorted to the front of BCJ
and talking with the shift sergeant. (Id.) Officers
then placed Plaintiff in a holding cell. (Id.)
Plaintiff begged the shift sergeant to return to his cell and
get his stuff, which included legal mail, personal items,
money, and other confidential information. (Id.)
These materials were important to Plaintiff because it
included information about Plaintiff working with the
government on drug deals and figuring out who were gang
members. (Id.) However, the shift sergeant refused
to allow Plaintiff to return to his cell, and Plaintiff was
transferred to JCJ. (Id.)
couple of days after being transferred to JCJ,
Plaintiff's cousin called Plaintiff and told him another
detainee found Plaintiff's letters to the government and
his personal belongings, such as his bank account pin No. and
$170. (Id.) This inmate told Plaintiff's cousin
he let everyone at BCJ know about Plaintiff's involvement
with the government. (Id.) Gang members thanked the
inmate who stole Plaintiff's belonging, stating they
would kill Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges this
should not have happened and is exactly why he asked the
shift sergeant to return to his cell. (Id.)
a month after the call from his cousin, Brad Mitchell went to
Plaintiff's mother's home and told her he was just
released from BCJ. (Id. at 1-2.) Mr. Mitchell went
on to say someone named Dale Sherman had Plaintiff's pin
No. and showed everybody the messages Plaintiff was relaying
to the government, his lawyer, and the probation office.
(Id. at 2.) Mr. Mitchell also stated Mr. Sherman and
other detainees wanted to kill Plaintiff. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges BCJ's handling of his materials was
improper and violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights and article seven of the universal declaration of
human rights. (Id.) By not handling his materials
properly, BCJ has placed Plaintiff and his family in danger.
mother spoke with Captain Haynes, Major Bush, Major Huffman,
and others. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges they mailed $170
by way of check, but Plaintiff has not received it.
(Id.) While talking to Plaintiff's mother over
the phone, Major Bush laughed at her, and Major Huffman
stated he could not help. (Id.) Plaintiff's only
alleged injuries are mental stress. (Doc. no. 1, p. 5.) For
relief, Plaintiff requests $300, 000 to move his family,
placement in witness protection, his name changed, and Burke
County Sheriff's Department to pay for his court costs.
Legal Standard for Screening
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 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)).
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 ...