Major v. Ford

Filing 14

ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION granting 10 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, as amended by 13, directing service on defendant Ford, and giving instructions to the parties. Signed by Judge Claude W. Hicks Jr. on 3/3/06. (Hicks, Claude) Modified on 6/5/2006 to include recommendation (dcp, ).

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Major v. Ford Doc. 14 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 1 of 9 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA MACON DIVISION FRANK MAJOR, : : Plaintiff : : vs. : NO. 5:06-CV-3 (CAR) : : WENDY THOMPSON, : MR. FORD, : : PROCEEDINGS UNDER 42 U.S.C. 1983 : Defendants : BEFORE THE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION OF DISMISSAL Pro se prisoner plaintiff FRANK MAJOR filed the above-styled complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff sought leave to proceed without pre-payment of the filing fee or security therefor pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(a). As it appears plaintiff is unable to pay the cost of commencing this action, his application to proceed in forma pauperis is hereby GRANTED. Based on plaintiff's submissions, the court waives the initial partial filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(b)(4). However, even if a prisoner is allowed to proceed in forma pauperis, he must nevertheless pay the full amount of the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. 1915(b)(1). I. STANDARD OF REVIEW A. 28. U.S.C. 1915(e)(2) Because plaintiff sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court is conducting a review of the instant complaint for frivolity under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2). Notwithstanding any filing fee or portion thereof that might have been paid, the court is required to review prisoner complaints with a view toward dismissing the complaint or any portions thereof if the complaint: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 1915A, 1915(e)(2). 1 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 2 of 9 An action is frivolous when the plaintiff's legal theory or factual contentions lack an arguable basis either in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989). A claim is frivolous as a matter of law where, inter alia, the defendants are immune from suit, the claim seeks to enforce a right which clearly does not exist, or there is an affirmative defense which would defeat the claim, such as the statute of limitations. Id. at 327; See also Clark v. Georgia Pardons & Paroles Bd., 915 F.2d 636, 640 n. 2 (11th Cir. 1990). B. General Requirements of 42 U.S.C. 1983 In any action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the initial question presented to the court is whether the essential elements of a 1983 cause of action are present. First, a plaintiff must allege that an act or omission deprived him of a right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Second, he must allege that the act or omission was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535, overruled in part on other grounds, 474 U.S. 327 (1986). II. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS Plaintiff states in the complaint that he was injured after he slipped and fell on a wet floor in the dish room. According to plaintiff, he suffered injury to his shoulder. III. RECOMMENDATION OF DISMISSAL A plaintiff cannot prevail under 1983 based solely on a theory of respondeat superior. Rogers v. Evans, 792 F.2d 1052, 1058 (11th Cir. 1986); H.C. by Hewett v. Jarrard, 786 F.2d 1080, 1086-87 (11th Cir. 1986). In order to prevail on a 1983 claim against a supervisory official, a plaintiff must show that the named defendant was actually involved in, or exercised control or direction over, the alleged constitutional deprivation. Cotton v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352, 1360 (11th Cir. 2003); Hartley v. Parnell, 193 F.3d 1263, 1269 (11th Cir. 1999). The plaintiff must also allege deprivation of rights by individual employees in their official capacity. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985); Patrick v. Floyd Med. Ctr., 201 F.3d 1313, 1316 (11th Cir. 2000). 2 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 3 of 9 Plaintiff has not demonstrated that defendant Warden THOMPSON was actually involved in, or exercised control or direction over, the alleged constitutional deprivation in this case. Therefore, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the undersigned that defendant THOMPSON be DISMISSED as a party herein. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1), the plaintiff may file written objections to this RECOMMENDATION with the Clerk of court directed to the district judge assigned to this case, WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS after being served with a copy thereof. IV. ORDER FOR SERVICE Under the law of this circuit, prison officials can be liable for exhibiting deliberate indifference to a known danger. Brown v. Hughes, 894 F.2d 1533, 1537 (11th Cir. 1990). However, the known risk of injury must have been a strong likelihood, rather than a mere possibility, before an official's failure to act can constitute deliberate indifference. Edwards v. Gilbert, 867 F.2d 1271, 1276 (11th Cir. 1989). See also Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994)(for a claim based on a failure to prevent harm, the inmate must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm; to be liable, the prison official must know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or safety). As for the claim against defendant FORD, at this juncture it cannot be found that it is wholly without merit. While it is by no means clear that plaintiff will ultimately prevail on the merits, construing the complaint liberally in favor of plaintiff this court concludes that plaintiff has made sufficient allegations to survive frivolity review. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND DIRECTED that service be made as provided by law upon defendant FORD; that a WAIVER OF REPLY, an ANSWER or such other response as may be appropriate under Rule 12 of the FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 28 U.S.C. 1915, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act be filed herein by defendant as required and permitted by law. 3 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 4 of 9 DUTY TO ADVISE OF ADDRESS CHANGE During the pendency of this action, each party shall at all times keep the Clerk of this court and all opposing attorneys and/or parties advised of his current address. FAILURE TO PROMPTLY ADVISE THE CLERK OF ANY CHANGE OF ADDRESS MAY RESULT IN THE DISMISSAL OF A PARTY'S PLEADINGS FILED HEREIN! L DUTY TO PROSECUTE ACTION Plaintiff is advised that he must diligently prosecute his complaint or face the possibility that it will be dismissed under Rule 41(b) of the FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE for failure to prosecute. Defendant is advised that he is expected to diligently defend all allegations made and to file timely dispositive motions as hereinafter directed. This matter will be set down for trial when the court determines that discovery has been completed and that all motions have been disposed of or the time for filing dispositve motions has passed. FILING AND SERVICE OF MOTIONS, PLEADINGS, DISCOVERY AND CORRESPONDENCE It is the responsibility of each party to FILE original motions, pleadings, and correspondence with the Clerk of court; to SERVE copies of all motions, pleadings, discovery, and correspondence (including letters to the Clerk or to a judge) upon opposing parties or counsel for opposing parties if they are represented; and to attach to said original motions, pleadings, and discovery filed with the Clerk a CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE indicating who has been served and where (i.e., at what address), when service was made, and how service was accomplished (i.e., by U. S. Mail, by personal service, etc.). THE CLERK OF COURT WILL NOT SERVE OR FORWARD COPIES OF SUCH MOTIONS, PLEADINGS, DISCOVERY AND CORRESPONDENCE ON BEHALF OF THE PARTIES! 4 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 DISCOVERY Filed 03/03/2006 Page 5 of 9 PLAINTIFF SHALL NOT COMMENCE DISCOVERY UNTIL AN ANSWER OR DISPOSITIVE MOTION HAS BEEN FILED ON BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANT FROM WHOM DISCOVERY IS SOUGHT BY PLAINTIFF. DEFENDANTS SHALL NOT COMMENCE DISCOVERY UNTIL SUCH TIME AS AN ANSWER OR DISPOSITIVE MOTION HAS BEEN FILED. Once an answer or dispositive motion has been filed, the parties are authorized to seek discovery from one another as provided in the FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. The deposition of the plaintiff, a state/county prisoner, may be taken at any time during the time period hereinafter set out provided prior arrangements are made with his custodian. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that discovery (including depositions and interrogatories) shall be completed WITHIN 90 DAYS from the date of filing of an ANSWER or DISPOSITIVE MOTION by defendants, unless an extension is otherwise granted by the court upon a showing of good cause therefor or a protective order is sought by the defendants and granted by the court. This 90 DAY period shall run separately as to each plaintiff and each defendant beginning on the date of filing of each defendant's answer/dispositive motion. The scheduling of a trial herein may be advanced upon notification from the parties that no further discovery is contemplated or that discovery has been completed prior to the deadline. DISCOVERY MATERIALS SHALL NOT BE FILED WITH THE CLERK OF COURT. No party shall be required to respond to any discovery not directed to him or served upon him by the opposing counsel/party! The undersigned incorporates herein those parts of the Local Rules imposing the following limitations on discovery: INTERROGATORIES except with written permission of the court first obtained, REQUESTS FOR OF may not exceed TWENTY-FIVE (25) to each party, PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND THINGS under Rule 34 of the FEDERAL RULES CIVIL PROCEDURE may not exceed TEN (10) requests to each party, and REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS under Rule 36 of the FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE may not exceed FIFTEEN (15) requests to each party. No party shall be required to respond to any such requests which exceed these limitations. 5 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 6 of 9 L REQUESTS FOR DISMISSAL AND/OR JUDGMENT Dismissal of this action or requests for judgment will not be considered by the court absent the filing of a SEPARATE MOTION therefor accompanied by a brief/memorandum of law citing supporting authorities. DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS should be filed at the earliest time possible, but in any event no later than THIRTY (30) DAYS after the close of discovery unless otherwise directed by the court. DIRECTIONS TO CUSTODIAN OF PLAINTIFF Following the payment of the required initial partial filing fee or the waiving of the payment of same, the WARDEN of the institution wherein plaintiff is incarcerated, or the Sheriff of any county wherein he is held in custody, and any successor custodians, shall each month cause to be remitted to the Clerk of this court TWENTY PERCENT (20%) of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's account at said institution until the $250.00 filing fee has been paid in full. In accordance with provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, plaintiff's custodian is hereby authorized to forward payments from the prisoner's account to the Clerk of court each month until the filing fee is paid in full, provided the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND DIRECTED that collection of monthly payments from plaintiff's trust fund account shall continue until the entire $250.00 has been collected, notwithstanding the dismissal of plaintiff's lawsuit or the granting of judgment against him prior to the collection of the full filing fee. 6 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 7 of 9 PLAINTIFF'S OBLIGATION TO PAY FILING FEE Pursuant to provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, in the event plaintiff is hereafter released from the custody of the State of Georgia or any county thereof, he shall remain obligated to pay any balance due on the filing fee in this proceeding until said amount has been paid in full; plaintiff shall continue to remit monthly payments as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Collection from the plaintiff of any balance due on the filing fee by any means permitted by law is hereby authorized in the event plaintiff is released from custody and fails to remit payments. In addition, plaintiff's complaint is subject to dismissal if he has the ability to make monthly payments and fails to do so. ELECTION TO PROCEED BEFORE THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE Under Local Rule 72, all prisoner complaints filed under provisions of 42 U.S.C. 1983 are referred to a full-time United States Magistrate Judge for this district for consideration of all pretrial matters. In addition, 28 U.S.C. 636(c)(1) authorizes and empowers full-time magistrate judges to conduct any and all proceedings in a jury or non-jury civil matter and to order the entry of judgment in a case upon the written consent of all of the parties. Whether the parties elect to proceed before a magistrate judge or retain their right to proceed before a U. S. district judge is strictly up to the parties themselves. L After the filing of responsive pleadings by the defendants, the Clerk of court is directed to provide ELECTION FORMS to the parties and/or to their legal counsel, if represented. Upon receipt of the ELECTION FORMS, each party shall cause the same to be executed and returned to the Clerk's Office WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS. Counsel may execute ELECTION FORMS on behalf of their clients provided they have such permission from their clients. However, counsel must specify on the ELECTION FORMS on whose behalf the form is executed. 7 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 8 of 9 SO ORDERED, this 3rd day of MARCH, 2006. CLAUDE W. HICKS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 8 Case 5:06-cv-00003-CWH Document 14 Filed 03/03/2006 Page 9 of 9 NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES PURSUANT TO THE COURT'S ORDER REGARDING DISCOVERY SET OUT ABOVE, NO DISCOVERY SHALL BE PERMITTED IN THIS CASE UNTIL AN ANSWER OR DISPOSITIVE MOTION (E.G., MOTION TO DISMISS, MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS) HAS BEEN FILED BY THE DEFENDANT(S). PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, DISCOVERY (DEPOSITIONS, INTERROGATORIES, REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND THINGS, REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS, ETC., AND RESPONSES THERETO) SHALL NOT BE FILED WITH THE CLERK OF COURT. NOTE THAT THIS IS A CHANGE IN THE PROCEDURE HERETOFORE FOLLOWED IN THIS DISTRICT. DO NOT FILE ANY DISCOVERY WITH THE COURT UNLESS YOU ARE SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED TO DO SO BY THE COURT OR UNLESS FILING IS NECESSARY TO SUPPORT OR CONTEST A MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY, OBJECTION TO DISCOVERY, DISPOSITIVE MOTION, OR SIMILAR MOTION. THE CLERK IS DIRECTED TO RETURN ANY SUBMITTED DISCOVERY TO THE PARTY SUBMITTING IT UNLESS IT IS FILED PURSUANT TO AN ORDER OF THE COURT OR IN SUPPORT OR A MOTION TO COMPEL, OBJECTION TO DISCOVERY, DISPOSITIVE MOTION, OR SIMILAR MOTION. 9

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