Horton v. Unknown
OPINION. Signed by Judge James P. Jones on 10/18/2017. (lml)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
ROGER LEE HORTON,
Case No. 1:17CV00042
By: James P. Jones
United States District Judge
Roger Lee Horton, Pro Se Plaintiff.
The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in
order to file an accompanying Complaint. For the reasons that follow, I will grant
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but will dismiss the Complaint because it fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
However, I will allow the
plaintiff to file an amended complaint setting forth additional facts to support his
The plaintiff, Roger Lee Horton, filed this action regarding certain events
that happened at Bland and Nottoway Correctional Facilities in Virginia, where he
was an inmate. 1 Horton also filed a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). On the basis of the information set forth
At the time he filed his Complaint, Horton was no longer a prisoner.
in Horton’s affidavit, I will grant this motion. Because Horton filed his complaint
in forma pauperis, I will address this case sua sponte pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See Cochran v. Morris, 73 F.3d 1310 (4th Cir. 1996) (stating
that sua sponte dismissals are “freely permitted” under § 1915) (citing Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
A district court shall dismiss a case filed in forma pauperis at any time if the
court determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Michau v.
Charleston Cty., 434 F.3d 725, 728 (4th Cir. 2006). This statute “is designed
largely to discourage the filing of, and waste of judicial and private resources upon,
baseless lawsuits that paying litigants generally do not initiate.”
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
A pro se complaint must be construed liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro
se complaint is subject to sua sponte dismissal when it fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Dismissal is proper
only when the court accepts as true the substance of a plaintiff’s allegations.
Horton’s Complaint alleges that while he was a prisoner, certain medical
personnel and prison officials violated his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Specifically, Horton alleges that he was “overdosed” on “strong medication” in
2014, from which he still suffers, although he does not state in what manner he
suffers. Compl. 2, ECF No. 1. Horton also claims that he was transferred from
Nottoway to Bland Correctional Facility “for no reason” and “was still not treated”
for the alleged overdose.
Finally, Horton claims that he filed several
grievances with prison officials, but was denied help.
Horton fails to sufficiently identify the individuals against whom his claims
are brought. He identifies two physicians in his Complaint, but the names are
illegible and Horton does not specify where the doctors are employed or who
prescribed him the unidentified medicine, how he knows it was an overdose, and
the reason he believes that the action of the physician was intentional and not
merely negligent. Similarly, Horton identifies a warden, whose name is also
illegible, but he fails to specify where the warden works or how the warden caused
him any intentional harm in violation of his constitutional rights. In short, Horton
fails to set forth the full detailed facts on which his claim is based.
For the foregoing reasons, I will grant leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
dismiss the present Complaint, and grant leave for Horton to amend his Complaint
to allege specific facts sufficient to support his claim, as long as he does so within
21 days from this date.
A separate order will be entered herewith.
DATED: October 18, 2017
/s/ James P. Jones
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?