Steele et al v. Bennett et al
ORDERED that Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days in which to amend the Complaint, particularizing his claims and providing facts to support his legal claims and identifying individual Defendants subject to suit. If Plaintiff fails to amend the Complaint within the time limit set by the Court, this action will be dismissed without prejudice and without further notice to Plaintiff.. Signed by Chief Judge Frank D. Whitney on 12/5/17. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(clc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
GERALDINE BENNETT, et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint,
filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (Doc. No. 33). See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2); 1915A. On
September 6, 2017, the Court entered an order waiving the initial filing fee and directing
monthly payments to be made from Plaintiff’s prison account. (Doc. No. 28). Thus, Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis.
Pro se Plaintiff Curtis Haggins, a North Carolina state inmate currently incarcerated at
Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Lanesboro, North Carolina, filed this action on January 30,
2017, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He filed his Amended Complaint in accordance with this
Court’s order on October 24, 2017. (Doc. No. 33). In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff names
as Defendants “Lanesboro Medical Nurses.” (Id. at 1). Plaintiff states in the Amended
Complaint that unnamed persons have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs
in the following manner: “The medical dept at Lanesboro CI failed to fill my prescriptions on
high blood pressure. I was running as high as 208/123 they ignored my frequent request for my
meds. Out Nov. and Dec. of 2016 and Feb. of 2017.” (Id. at 3). As relief, Plaintiff states that he
seeks “to be compensated for my health being put in danger of stroke or heart attack plus damage
done to my arteries.” (Id. at 4).
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,
§ 1915A requires an initial review of a “complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity,” and the
court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint,
if the complaint 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 from 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).
This Court finds that Plaintiff must amend his Complaint or this action will be subject to
dismissal without prejudice and without further notice to Plaintiff. In his Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff needs to provide more specific allegations—he needs to allege facts with specific dates
and persons who allegedly ignored his serious medical needs. That is, Plaintiff has simply
named “Lanesboro Medical Nurses” as the Defendants in the Amended Complaint, and he has
not specified how many nurses he intended to bring suit against. Plaintiff may amend the
Complaint to rename the intended Defendants as John Doe or Jane Doe Defendants, but he must
allege specific allegations as to these particular defendants so that they may be identified in
discovery. Otherwise, Plaintiff’s action cannot proceed. See Chidi Njoku v. Unknown Special
Unit Staff, 217 F.3d 840, at *1 (4th Cir. 2000) (unpublished) (“The designation of a John Doe
defendant is generally not favored in the federal courts; it is appropriate only when the identity of
the alleged defendant is not known at the time the complaint is filed and the plaintiff is likely to
be able to identify the defendant after further discovery.”).
For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days in which to amend his
Complaint in accordance with this order.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days in which to amend the Complaint, particularizing
his claims and providing facts to support his legal claims and identifying individual
Defendants subject to suit. If Plaintiff fails to amend the Complaint within the time
limit set by the Court, this action will be dismissed without prejudice and without
further notice to Plaintiff.
2. The Clerk is directed to mail Plaintiff a new Section 1983 Complaint form.
Signed: December 5, 2017
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