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Anthony v. Thomas

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

October 23, 2018

VERTIS ANTHONY, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN WILLIE THOMAS, et al., Defendants.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STACI G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff has filed a pro se second amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States. (Doc. 33). The plaintiff names the following defendants in the second amended complaint: Warden Christopher Gordy, Warden Willie Thomas, Classification Supervisor Bias, and Nurse Practitioner McKay. (Id. at 1-3). The plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Id. at 7-8). In accordance with the usual practices of this court and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the second amended complaint was referred to the undersigned for a preliminary report and recommendation. See McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136 (1991).

         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 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 Atl. 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. 678. 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, 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 May 26, 2016, the plaintiff filed an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus on the form typically used to assert claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 3). On November 15, 2016, the undersigned recommended that the court dismiss the plaintiff's habeas corpus claims and recharacterize his remaining claims as invoking 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 12). On February 28, 2017, the court accepted the undersigned's recommendation, dismissed the plaintiff's habeas claims, and recharacterized the remaining claims as invoking 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 16). On March 23, 2017, the plaintiff filed a notice of interlocutory appeal. (Doc. 19). On May 16, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, sua sponte, for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. 25).

         On November 16, 2017, the undersigned notified the plaintiff that his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which appeared to concern inadequate medical care and conditions of confinement, were not directed at any particular defendant. (Doc. 27). The undersigned ordered the plaintiff to file an amended complaint, naming as defendants only those persons who violated his constitutional rights. (Id. at 2). The undersigned advised the plaintiff to clearly state how each named defendant violated his constitutional rights, the date(s) on which the incident(s) occurred, and where the incident(s) occurred. (Id.).

         On December 11, 2017, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, naming as defendants Warden Gordy and Warden Thomas. (Doc. 29). On February 1, 2018, the undersigned notified the plaintiff the amended complaint was also inadequate and directed him to file a second amended complaint. (Doc. 31). Specifically, the plaintiff named Gordy and Thomas as defendants and listed numerous causes of action but did not allege any supporting facts demonstrating how each defendant personally participated in any of the alleged constitutional violations. (Id.). On February 20, 2018, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. (Doc. 33).

         III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         Liberally construing the plaintiff's second amended complaint, he alleges Gordy, Thomas, and Bias have improperly classified him to the “most restrictive custody” within the Alabama Department of Corrections. (Doc. 33 at 5). He also claims Gordy and Thomas-by failing to reclassify him-are guilty of “kidnapping” him. (Id. at 6).

         The plaintiff further complains that while he was incarcerated at Limestone Correctional Facility in 2015, prison officials sentenced him to 25 days in segregation, but Gordy detained him in segregation for six additional months, from October 2015 to April 2016. (Doc. 33 at 5, 7). The plaintiff states ...


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