Montgomery v. Classification et al

Filing 9

ORDER DISMISSING CASE without prejudice. This case stands closed. Signed by Judge Dudley H. Bowen on 8/1/2022. (pts)

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r": u.s.c;:"i. ::t court ai::UjU \j?/. IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COXmT _[ p O SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA SAVANNAH DIVISION -•i-L.. !. ,_.r UA. RUBIN MONTGOMERY, Plaintiff, •k V. * CV 422-014 k CLASSIFICATION and CHATHAM * COUNTY DETENTION CENTER,^ * k Defendants. * ORDER Plaintiff filed this County Detention Center. lawsuit while housed at the (Compl., Doc. No. 1, at 3.) Chatham Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis ("IFP") in this case brought under status).) 42 Because U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. he is proceeding IFP, No. 3 (granting IFP Plaintiff's pleadings must be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984) (per curiam); Al-Amin V. Donald, 165 F. App'x 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006) (per curiam); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. A pro se litigant's pleadings are held to a more lenient standard than those drafted by an attorney, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), but the Court may dismiss the Complaint or any portion thereof if it is frivolous, malicious. ^ The Clerk's Office erroneously docketed this case listing two defendants even though the Complaint clearly indicates he is suing one defendant - "Chatham County Detention Center-Classification." Nevertheless, for thoroughness, the Court will discuss "both" defendants herein. the sake of fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from relief. a defendant such 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). I. Plaintiff 2020. who is immune to was BACKGROUND removed from (Doc. No. 1, at 5.) explanation for the removal. protective custody in December He complains that he was given no (Id.) Plaintiff later reported that several doors in his new dorm could be opened by the inmates, and he suspects that the other inmates found out he made that report. (Id.) Afterwards, he heard remarks that sounded threatening. Plaintiff sent a grievance stating that he felt unsafe, but when the officials attempted to separate the accused threatening inmate, the wrong person was removed from his dorm. (Id.) He suspects the inmate in question has ^'deep ties" in the city of Savannah and, after evading prison officials, spread rumors within their dorm that Plaintiff is a snitch. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff continued to notice looks and overhear words that made him feel uncomfortable. refused causing to him He complained again on November 17, 2021, but he report to the feel specific unsafe. names He of individuals eventually who disclosed were the individuals' room numbers, and the officials "put separations on them." (Id.) Plaintiff additionally complains about the conditions of his current dorm, including criticisms of the commissary, food, clean up procedures, recreation limitations, and safety issues. vaguely describes incidents of others being assaulted. 7.) He notes that he has been denied profiled for due to arthritis. putting something nefarious (Id.) in his He (Id. at his cane, which he was He suspects that someone is food. (Id.) Plaintiff complains that even though there is room in another "'bubble,'' the classification officials refuse to place him there. On March 21, 2022, Plaintiff drafted a letter informing the Court that he had been released from jail. letter on April 1, 2022. April 26, 2022. The Clerk docketed the (Doc. No. 7.) Plaintiff followed up on (Doc. No. 8.) II. LEGAL STANDARD A complaint or any portion thereof may be dismissed if it is frivolous, malicious, 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). A claim is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325 (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 F. App'x 49, 51 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell V. Farcass, 112 F.Sd 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 to relief that is plausible on its face." V. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A Bell Atl. Corp. claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference liable for the misconduct alleged." 662, 678 (2009). that the Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. That is, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." U.S. at 555. defendant is Twombly, 550 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 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. accusation." 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.'" at 555, 557). Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. 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, courts afford a liberal construction to a pro se litigant's pleadings, holding them to a more lenient standard than those drafted by an attorney. Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94; Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, this liberal construction does not mean that courts have a duty to re-write the complaint. Snow V. DirecTV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006). III. DISCUSSION In his Detention Complaint, Plaintiff Center-Classification" named as the the "Chatham Defendant. The County Clerk construed this as two individual defendants, but in any event, neither are appropriately named. The Chatham County Detention Center is not an entity subject to suit. See Johnson v. Benton, 2021 WL 6750967, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 20, 2021) (citing Jamelson V. Unnamed Defendant, 2017 WL 6503630, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 19, 2017)); see also Brannon v. Thomas Cnty. Jail, 280 F. App'x 930, 934 n.l (11th Cir. 2008) (noting Thomas County Jail is not entity capable of being sued under Georgia law). Nor is "Classification" (see doc. no. 1, at 4) an appropriate party. Appropriate parties for suit under Section 1983 include "persons" who participated in the alleged violation. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (subjecting only "persons" to liability). Moreover, amendment to state an appropriate defendant would be futile. Cockrell v. Sparks, 510 F.3d 1307, 1310 (11th Cir. 2007) ("Leave to amend a complaint is futile when the complaint as amended would still be properly dismissed . . . ."). To state a Section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must at least allege some violation of the Constitution. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (making it unlawful for a state actor to deprive persons of ^^any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws"). than allege a constitutional violation. Here, rather Plaintiff requests compensation for the mental anguish which accompanied his prison stay. (Doc. No. 1, at 9.) However, even if prison conditions are ''restrictive and even harsh, they are part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). To state an Eighth Amendment claim of unlawful prison conditions, a prisoner "must show that a condition of his confinement pose[s] an unreasonable risk of serious damage to his future health or safety." Chandler v. Crosby, 379 F.3d 1278, 1289 (11th Cir. 2004). The prisoner must also show that the defendant prison officials subjectively acted with "deliberate indifference" with regard to the conditions at issue. Id. Conditions are objectively serious or extreme if they amount to deprivation of "minimal civilized measure of life's necessities" or "the basic human needs." Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347. It is doubtful whether unreasonable risk of harm. Plaintiff has stated a claim of He does not describe specific threats or explicitly name incidents of specific risk, but rather suggests that there Moreover, was though an he atmosphere lists of some danger within criticisms the regarding prison. food. sanitation, recreation, and his need for a cane, these unsubstantiated claims do not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. ''[T]he Constitution does prisons." Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 349. not mandate comfortable Generally speaking, prison conditions rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation only when they ""involve the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain." Id. Next, Plaintiff deliberately has indifferent. not alleged Plaintiff that any indicated official that officers attempted to transfer problematic inmates out of the cell. Plaintiff believes that an inmate has evaded detection was Though of those officials, this allegation does not state a claim against any state actor. Ultimately, an official may escape liability for known risks ""if [he] responded reasonably to the risk, even if the harm ultimately was not averted." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 844 (1994). Moreover, to the extent Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to protect him from a serious risk of prisoner violence in violation of the Eighth Amendment, this claim also fails. asserting a failure-to-protect claim, a prisoner must In advance factual allegations sufficient to support the inference that the responsible prison official intended that he be harmed or was at least consciously indifferent to the prisoner's safety. 511 U.S. at 834; Chandler, 379 F.3d at 1289. 7 Farmer, Plaintiff does not provide any facts suggesting such an inference should be made. C.f. ^ Jones V. St. Lawrence, 2008 WL 5142396, at *5 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 5, 2008) (collecting failure to protect cases and holding that where an official ""incited" inmates to harm plaintiff, ""knowing" the action would harm him, the plaintiff stated an Eighth Amendment claim). Finally, inmates have no protected particular custody classification. liberty interest in a See Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 223-25, (1976) (explaining that ""[c]onfinement in any of the State's institutions is within the normal limits or range of custody which the conviction has authorized the State to impose"); Moody V. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976) (noting that Congress has given prison officials full discretion to control conditions of confinement, including prisoner classification). Consequently, prison officials may assign inmates to any security classification level they choose without necessarily violating any constitutional right of the inmates. See Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238 (1983); Meachum, 427 U.S. at 224; Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460 (1983) modified on other grounds, Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 481 (1995); see also Slezak v. Evatt, 21 F.3d 590, 594 (4th Cir. 1994) (in the context of a claim based on a custody classification, holding that the U.S. Constitution affords no liberty interest in a prisoner's custody classification). to allege facts consistent with a Given that Plaintiff failed constitutional violation. amendment of his Complaint would be futile. His Complaint is properly dismissed instead. IV. CONCLUSION Upon the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. ORDER ENTERED at Augusta, Georgia, this /.MA day X of August, 2022. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

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