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Brown v. Samaniego

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

February 16, 2018

WILLIAM OTIS JAMES BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN SAMANIEGO, et al., Defendants.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          HERMAN N. JOHNSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The plaintiff filed a pro se amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States. (Doc. 9). The plaintiff names the following defendants in the amended complaint: Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego, Captain Jay Fondren, Lieutenant Hood, Lieutenant John Doe, Sargent John Doe, Officer Black, Officer Goode, Officer Gentry, Officer Woods, and Mr. Frank E. Ellis. (Id. at 2-3).[1] The plaintiff seeks monetary and declaratory relief. (Id. at 16). In accordance with the usual practices of this court and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the court referred the amended complaint to the undersigned magistrate judge for a preliminary report and recommendation. See McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136 (1991).

         For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned RECOMMENDS all claims against all defendants in this action, except the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claims against defendants Goode, Gentry, Woods, Hood, and Samaniego for the October 2016 disciplinary action taken against plaintiff and the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claims against Sgt. John Doe and Samaniego for the December 2016 disciplinary action taken against plaintiff, be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The undersigned FURTHER RECOMMENDS the remaining claims be REFERRED to the undersigned for further proceedings.

         I. Standard of Review

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act, as partially codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, requires this court to screen complaints filed by prisoners against government officers or employees. The court must dismiss the complaint or any portion thereof that it finds frivolous, malicious, seeks monetary damages from a defendant immune from monetary relief, or which does not state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Id. Moreover, the court may sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's complaint prior to service. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

         Under § 1915A(b)(1) and § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), a claim may be dismissed as “frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim is frivolous as a matter of law where, inter alia, the defendants are immune from suit or the claim seeks to enforce a legal right that clearly does not exist. Id. at 327.

         Moreover, a complaint may be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A review on this ground is governed by the same standards as dismissals for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007). In order to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, “a complaint must contain 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) (internal quotation marks omitted). That is, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and must be a “‘plain statement' possess[ing] enough heft to ‘show that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007) (alteration incorporated). But “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. Similarly, when a successful affirmative defense, such as a statute of limitations, appears on the face of a complaint, dismissal for failure to state a claim is also warranted. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. at 215.

         Pro se pleadings “are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys” and are liberally construed. Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006). However, they still must allege factual allegations that “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Saunders v. Duke, 766 F.3d 1262, 1266 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         II. Procedural History

         On August 17, 2017, the undersigned notified the plaintiff of deficiencies in his complaint and directed him to correct the deficiencies in the following manner:

The plaintiff has failed to provide the complete names and addresses of all defendants and has failed to set forth his claims adequately. The plaintiff must amend his complaint by completing a new ' 1983 complaint form. The new complaint must be labeled “Amended Complaint” and “Case No. 2:17-cv-00965-LSC-HNJ” must be written on the first page.
In the amended complaint, the plaintiff must provide the complete names of all defendants or as much of the names as known, and any identifying information (such as gender, race, approximate age, job title or position), and a complete address for each defendant. The plaintiff should name as defendants only those persons who violated his constitutional rights. The plaintiff must identify those persons as defendants both in the heading and in Part I.B. of the complaint.
Although the plaintiff has provided some allegations to support his claims, he has not stated clearly how each named defendant violated his constitutional rights, the date(s) on which the incident(s) occurred, and where the incident(s) occurred. The plaintiff must clearly set forth the facts that support his claims against the defendants. The plaintiff is ADVISED that conclusory and general assertions are not sufficient to state a claim upon which relief under ' 1983 can be granted. See Fullman v. Graddick, 739 F.2d 553, 556-57 (11th Cir. 1984).
The amended complaint must include all of the plaintiff's claims in this action; IT SHOULD NOT REFER BACK TO THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT. The plaintiff is ADVISED that the Court will consider only the claims set forth in the amended complaint. After completing the new complaint form, the plaintiff should mail it to the Clerk of the Court.

(Doc. 7 at 1-2) (footnote regarding fictitious party practice omitted).

         On August 17, 2017, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 9).

         III. ...


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