Patton v. Shields
ORDER Plaintiff shall have 30 days in which to amend his Complaint in accordance with the terms of this Order. If Plaintiff fails to so amend his Complaint, the matter will be dismissed without prejudice.The Clerk is instructed to mail Plaintiff a blank prisoner § 1983 form. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 11/18/2021. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.) (hms)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff’s
Complaint, [Doc. 1], filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)
and 1915A. Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. [Docs. 2, 6].
Pro se Plaintiff Tevin Patton (“Plaintiff”) is a North Carolina state inmate
currently incarcerated at Foothills Correctional Institution (“Foothills”) in
Morganton, North Carolina.
He filed this action on October 19, 2021,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming FNU Shield, identified as Sergeant at
Foothills, as the sole Defendant. [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff asserts a “use of force
claim,” alleging only that, on September 2, 2021, while in the Foothills
segregation dayroom, he “was placed in a choke hold from behind by Serg.
Shields while handcuffed in front of 4 officers.” [Id. at 5]. For injuries, Plaintiff
alleges that he has suffered neck and back pain, difficulty sleeping, and
depression since the incident. [Id. at 5]. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief only.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the
grounds that it is “frivolous or malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore, under § 1915A
the Court must conduct an initial review and identify and dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune to such relief.
In its frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the Complaint
raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is founded upon clearly
baseless factual contentions, such as fantastic or delusional scenarios.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Furthermore, a pro se
complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
However, the liberal construction requirement will not permit a
district court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts in his Complaint which
set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law. Weller v. Dep’t of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).
“To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the
violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States
and must show that the deprivation of that right was committed by a person
acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of “cruel and unusual
punishments,” U.S. CONST. amend. VIII, and protects prisoners from the
“unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312,
319 (1986). To establish an Eighth Amendment claim, an inmate must
satisfy both an objective component–that the harm inflicted was sufficiently
serious–and a subjective component–that the prison official acted with a
sufficiently culpable state of mind. Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761
(4th Cir. 1996). In adjudicating an excessive force claim, the Court must
consider such factors as the need for the use of force, the relationship
between that need and the amount of force used, the extent of the injury
inflicted, and, ultimately, whether the force was “applied in a good faith effort
to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically for the very
purpose of causing harm.” Whitley, 475 U.S. at 320-21.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court has made clear that “[a]n inmate who
is gratuitously beaten by guards does not lose his ability to pursue an
excessive force claim merely because he has the good fortune to escape
without serious injury.” Wilkins v. Gaddy, 130 S. Ct. 1175, 1178-79 (2010).
Taking Plaintiff’s allegations as true and drawing all reasonable
inferences in his favor, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under the Eighth
Amendment. While Plaintiff alleges an objective use of force by Defendant
Shields, Plaintiff does not allege any facts satisfying the subjective
component, that is, that Defendant Shields acted with a sufficiently culpable
state of mind. Plaintiff alleges no facts tending to show that the use of force
on Plaintiff was not necessary, but rather applied maliciously and sadistically
for the very purpose of causing harm. Plaintiff’s Complaint, therefore, fails
The Court will, however, allow Plaintiff the opportunity to amend his
complaint to state a claim for relief, if the facts support such an amendment.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that Plaintiff’s
Complaint fails initial review. The Court will allow Plaintiff thirty (30) days to
amend his Complaint, if he so chooses, to properly state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Any amended complaint will be subject to all timeliness
and procedural requirements and will supersede the Complaint. Piecemeal
amendment will not be permitted. Should Plaintiff fail to timely amend his
Complaint in accordance with this Order, the Court will dismiss this action
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Plaintiff shall have thirty (30)
days in which to amend his Complaint in accordance with the terms of this
If Plaintiff fails to so amend his Complaint, the matter will be
dismissed without prejudice.
The Clerk is respectfully instructed to mail Plaintiff a blank prisoner §
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed: November 18, 2021
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