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Spraggins v. Owens

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

October 20, 2017

DESEAN SPRAGGINS, Plaintiff,
v.
DIRECTOR CHARLOTTE E. OWENS, et al., Defendants.

          James L. Graham Magistrate Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, a state inmate under the supervision of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and correction, brings this prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF Nos. 1 & 16.) This matter is before the Court sua sponte for an initial screen of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to identify cognizable claims and to recommend dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         The Undersigned finds that at this early, initial screening stage Plaintiff's claims alleging violation of the Eighth Amendment against Defendant Sexton and Showalter arguably state claims for relief that can be granted and, therefore, RECOMMENDS that those claims continue against Defendants Sexton and Showalter in their individual capacities. The Undersigned finds that the Amended Complaint fails to state claims on which relief can be granted with respect to all other defendants and claims. For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DISMISS all of Plaintiff's other claims for failure to assert any claim on which relief may be granted.

         I.

         According to the Amended Complaint, in November and December 2016, Plaintiff filed several grievances with Defendant Henry in her capacity as unit manager alleging “harassment, threats, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual misconduct” by Defendant Anderson. (ECF No. 16 at 5.) Plaintiff states that he also submitted similar grievances to Defendants Diehl and Wilson in their capacities as institutional inspectors. (Id.) Plaintiff also states that on November 9, 2016, he reported another inmate's sexual misconduct to Defendant Hall, who then allegedly placed Plaintiff in segregation as punishment. (Id.) Plaintiff further states that the next day he suffered humiliation, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and mental abuse by Defendant Rigsby because Plaintiff identifies as transgender. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, he filed grievances against Defendant Rigsby with Defendants Henry and Perry. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that on December 11, 2016, Defendant Evans verbally harassed him and expressed “anti-gay sentiments.” (Id.) Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance with Defendant Posey. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that on December 20, 2016, the library aid, Defendant Harmon, humiliated, harassed, and threatened Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance with Defendant Williams “who [has] always been bias[ed] towards plaintiff.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that on December 26, 2016, upon return from pill call, he was strip searched by Defendants Johnson and Skaggs, which Plaintiff claims was “unreasonable.” (Id.) Plaintiff states that he filed grievances with Defendants Byrd and Perry. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that on January 2, 2017, Defendants Pacinda and Wright verbally abused and harassed Plaintiff “in a threatening manner.” (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance with Defendant Howard. (Id.) Plaintiff also claims that, on the same day, Defendants Wright and Pacinda made derogatory comments about Plaintiff's sexuality and that he filed another grievance with Defendant Howard. (Id.)

         According to Plaintiff, on March 23, 2017, Defendant Smith verbally abused and humiliated Plaintiff while escorting him back to his cell from a mental health appointment. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that he “then began to be retaliated on by [Defendant] Smith every time she was working in Plaintiff's presence.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims that on July 7, 2017, Defendant Campbell “gaze[d] upon Plaintiff momentarily in a sexual manner” while Plaintiff was washing. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance with Defendant Hall. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, he was called to the captain's office where Defendant Sexton threatened Defendant with retaliation if he continued reporting staff misconduct. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he then filed grievances with Defendants Howard and Diehl. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that On July 11, 2017, Defendant Showalter made “false allegations” against Plaintiff and expressed “anti-gay sentiments, ” including derogatory names “under her breath. (Id. at 7) Plaintiff states that Defendant Showalter filed “a false conduct report, ” which prompted Plaintiff to file additional grievances with Defendants Howard and Diehl. (Id.) Plaintiff also alleges that during a mental health call on July 12, 2017, Defendant Gardener harassed and verbally abused Plaintiff and told Plaintiff, “You are always needy.” (Id.) Plaintiff states that he subsequently filed grievances with Defendants Miller, Diehl, and Williams. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that on July 22 and 23, 2017, Defendant March “maliciously disclosed Plaintiff's conduct report to inmates . . . [and] stated to inmates . . . [that] Plaintiff gave someone HIV.” (Id.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant Marsh's comments “placed Plaintiff at potential risk.” (Id.) Plaintiff states that he reported Defendant Marsh's comments to Defendants Evans, Browning, and Pollard claiming that all three “fail[ed] to protect” Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he filed grievances with Defendants Howard and Diehl. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that, on July 25, 2017, a Lieutenant Lindsey, who is not named as a defendant, “attacked” Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff provides no further information about this incident.

         Plaintiff claims that on August 9, 2017, Defendant Sexton mentally abused and harassed Plaintiff. (Id. at 8.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant Sexton “stated to Plaintiff he don't give a fuck why Plaintiff [is] on suicide watch . . . [and he] encourage[ed] Plaintiff repeatedly three times to kill yourself.” (Id.) Plaintiff stated that he filed grievances with Defendants Howard and Diehl. (Id.) Plaintiff also states that he talked to Defendant Byrd about the alleged misconduct. (Id.) Plaintiff further states that he filed grievances alleging staff misconduct and inmate sexual misconduct to Defendants Henry, Perry, Howard, Diehl, and Wilson. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he also met with and filed grievances with Defendant Hooks and then filed grievances against Defendant Hooks when he failed to act. (Id.) Plaintiff says that he “wrote numerous grievances and appeals” to Defendant Wilson, who “did not properly investigate but maliciously conspired with administration” in denying every grievance and appeal. (Id.)

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants' actions and inactions amount to “cruel and unusual punishment . . . that caused great pain of mind and body to Plaintiff.” (Id. at 9.) Plaintiff seeks damages “in excess of $37, 000.00 for nominal damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages . . . and any other relief the Court deemed just and appropriate.” (Id.)

         II.

         Congress enacted 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the federal in forma pauperis statute, seeking to “lower judicial access barriers to the indigent.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). In doing so, however, “Congress recognized that ‘a litigant whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks an economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits.'” Id. at 31 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)). To address this concern, Congress included subsection (e)[1] as part of the statute, which provides in pertinent part:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that--
(B) the action or appeal--
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or . . . .

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) & (ii); Denton, 504 U.S. at 31. Thus, § 1915(e) requires sua sponte dismissal of an action upon the Court's determination that the action is frivolous or malicious, or upon determination that the action ...


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