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Bassant v. Philibin

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

November 13, 2019

CHAD ROBERT BASSANT, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN E. PHILIBIN; SGT. ESSER; and UNIT MANAGER SNOWDEN, Defendants.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Augusta State Medical Prison in Grovetown, Georgia, has submitted to the Court for filing a complaint, brought 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 E. Philibin; (2) Sergeant Esser; and (3) Unit Manager Snowden. (Doc. no. 1, p. 1.) 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 July 13, 2019, Plaintiff made a public accusation regarding violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Id. at 5.) He was subsequently placed in a segregated cell without any medical supplies and personal property. (Id.) Because of the denial of medical supplies necessary for his health, Plaintiff was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he needs “Officer Straud” to write her statement on these incidents, and Plaintiff is aware of another witness who can testify to Plaintiff's sanitary needs being ignored. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges Defendants are responsible for deliberate indifference to his medical needs for their lack of response and procedural errors. (Id.) For relief, Plaintiff requests $200, 000 in damages against each Defendant.

         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 Defendants

         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 attempts to allege Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, but Plaintiff fails to allege any facts showing Defendants were deliberately indifferent. At most, Plaintiff's complaint amounts to nothing more than conclusory allegations Defendants harmed him. See Iqbal 556 U.S. at 678. Therefore, Plaintiff fails to state a claim against Defendants. To state a valid claim, Plaintiff must specify the specific actions or omissions by each named defendant and explain how those actions and missions caused the harm about which he complains.

         II. ...


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