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Harris v. Aramark Inc.

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

January 11, 2018

HERMAN HARRIS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
ARAMARK INCORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL SCREEN REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Herman Harris, Jr., a state inmate who is proceeding without the assistance of counsel, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Aramark Incorporation, Aramark Correctional Services, Inc., Timothy Shoop as the Deputy Warden of Operations at Chillicothe Correctional Institution ("CO"), and employees at Pickaway Correctional Institution ("PO") (together with Defendant Shoop, "the Individual Defendants"). (ECF No. 6.) This matter is before the Court for the initial screen of Plaintiff s Amended Complaint (ECF No. 22) under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915Ato identify cognizable claims and to recommend dismissal of Plaintiffs 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. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A(b); see alsoMcGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997). Having performed the initial screen, for the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DISMISS all claims for monetary damages against the Individual Defendants in their official capacities, Plaintiffs negligence claim under state law against the Individual Defendants, and any claims based solely on a Defendant's supervisory capacity. It is FURTHER RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff be permitted to proceed with his remaining claims.

         I.

         Plaintiff alleges that, at all times relevant to his Complaint, he was confined at PCI. (Amended Complaint, ECF No. 22, ¶ 4 ("Am. Compl.").) Plaintiff, who was working in PCI food service, alleges that on or around March 5, 2017, he was given "a highly toxic chemical cleaning product" (the "chemical") and directed to clean an area. (Id. at ¶¶ 5-7.) According to Plaintiff, he was not properly trained to use the chemical, was given no safety protections, and was not supervised while using the chemical. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff alleges that after using the chemical, he sustained burns and injury to his hands and has undergone multiple minor hand surgeries. (Id. at ¶¶ 7, 11, 25.) Plaintiff names as Defendants Aramark Incorporation, Aramark Correctional Services, Inc., and the Individual Defendants in their individual and official capacities. (Id. at caption, ¶ 23.) Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief as well as exemplary, compensatory, and punitive damages. (Id. at ¶ 52.)

         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 fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         To properly state a claim upon which relief may be granted, a plaintiff must satisfy the basic federal pleading requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). See also Hillv. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (applying Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standards to review under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Thus, Rule 8(a) "imposes legal and factual demands on the authors of complaints." 16630 SouthfieldLtd., P 'Ship v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., 727 F.3d 502, 503 (6th Cir. 2013).

         Although this pleading standard does not require “‘detailed factual allegations, ' . . . [a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '” is insufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint will not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of'further factual enhancement.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter ... to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Facial plausibility is established "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "The plausibility of an inference depends on a host of considerations, including common sense and the strength of competing explanations for the defendant's conduct." Flagstar Bank, 727 F.3d at 504 (citations omitted). Further, the Court holds pro se ain complaints '"to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Garrett v. Belmont Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't., No. 08-3978, 2010 WL 1252923, at *2 (6th Cir. April 1, 2010) (quoting Haines v. Kerner,404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). This lenient treatment, however, has ...


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