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Warren v. ODRC

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

January 3, 2020

DERRICK L. WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
ODRC, et al., Defendants.

          Dlott, J.

          ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Stephanie K. Bowman United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff, an inmate at the Lebanon Correctional Institution (LCI), in Lebanon, Ohio, brings this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants ODRC (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction) and LCI officials Mrs. Nail and Mr. Saxon. (See Doc. 1-2).

         By separate order, plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This matter is now before the Court for a sua sponte review of plaintiff's complaint to determine whether the complaint, or any portion of it, should be dismissed because it 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. See Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 § 804, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); § 805, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         Screening of Plaintiff's Complaint

         A. Legal Standard

         In enacting the original in forma pauperis statute, 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.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)). To prevent such abusive litigation, Congress has authorized federal courts to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if they are satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious. Id.; see also 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and 1915A(b)(1). A complaint may be dismissed as frivolous when the plaintiff cannot make any claim with a rational or arguable basis in fact or law. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328-29 (1989); see also Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990). An action has no arguable legal basis when the defendant is immune from suit or when plaintiff claims a violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no arguable factual basis when the allegations are delusional or rise to the level of the irrational or “wholly incredible.” Denton, 504 U.S. at 32; Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199. The Court need not accept as true factual allegations that are “fantastic or delusional” in reviewing a complaint for frivolousness. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 471 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328).

         Congress also has authorized the sua sponte dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1). A complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be “liberally construed” and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). By the same token, however, the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Hill, 630 F.3d at 470-71 (“dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim” under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)).

         “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, but need not “accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). Although a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” it must provide “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Id. at 557. The complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (citations omitted).

         B. Allegations in the Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that shortly after arriving at LCI he got into a fight with his cellmate, who plaintiff asserts is a head member of the “Blood Gang.” (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19). Plaintiff states that he then requested defendant Mrs. Nail, an LCI Unit Manager, to move plaintiff. (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19). Plaintiff alleges that Mrs. Nail said “yes, at first, ” but then plaintiff's cellmate stuck his head in the door and threatened plaintiff. (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19). Plaintiff alleges that Mrs. Nail overheard the threat and placed plaintiff's cellmate in the “hole.” (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19). According to plaintiff, this incident placed him in danger “[b]ecause now it looked like [plaintiff] snitched and got [the cellmate] put in the hole, while [plaintiff] the new guy stayed free.” (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19).

         Plaintiff alleges that his cellmate put a “hit” on plaintiff and that a few days later an unidentified inmate jumped plaintiff and attempted to rape him. (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19). Plaintiff further asserts that he told defendants Mrs. Nail and Mr. Saxton that plaintiff wanted to file a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) complaint and get protective custody but they said “no” because they did not believe him. (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 19).

         For relief, plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1-2, at PageID 20).

         C. Analysis ...


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