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Brown v. Department of Corrections Employees/Staff

United States District Court, D. Maine

November 14, 2016

JAMIE BROWN, Plaintiff
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS EMPLOYEES/STAFF, et al., Defendants

          RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(E), 1915A

          JOHN C. NIVISON, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         In this action, Plaintiff Jamie Brown, an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections at the Maine State Prison, alleges that Defendants, who include individual state employees and private medical providers, have deprived him of necessary medical treatment and programs, and have otherwise required him to live in unsanitary conditions. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.)

         Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 3), which application the Court granted (ECF No. 4). In accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or … as soon as practicable after docketing, ” because he is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

         Following a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims against all Defendants, except Plaintiff's official capacity condition of confinement claim against Defendant Eric Bueno.

         I. Standard of Review

         When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, ” inter alia, 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). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).

         In addition to the review contemplated by § 1915, Plaintiff's amended complaint is subject to screening under the Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities and officers. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c). The § 1915A screening requires courts to “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim …; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         When considering whether a complaint states a claim for which relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “The relevant question ... in assessing plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any particular factual allegations but, rather, whether ‘the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to relief plausible.'” Rodríguez- Reyes v. Molina-Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n. 14). Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of “conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant legal standard, ” Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs “is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim”).

         II. Background Facts

         In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges:

I have been forced to take medications when I did not need them. I'm being warehoused in the special management unit in supermax conditions. I'm denied programs and treatment. I live in unsanitary conditions. My mail is tampered with. I don't receive proper medical care. Keeping me warehoused in a cell without proper mental health care lack of basic human needs.

(Complaint at 3, ¶ 21.) Plaintiff asserts that as the result of Defendants' actions, he has experienced certain mental health issues. (Id. ¶ 22.)

         In an October 12, 2016, letter filed with the Court, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have failed “to take responsibility of their unhuman like unprofessional judgment, ” “think they could violate whoever they feel like, ” “do not follow their sanitation policies, ” “got everybody on the lower [level] in the IMHU [Intensive Mental Health Unit] with ants and maggots, ” “barely let us shower when we're supposed to, ” “are not helping to get us where we need to be, ” and “are disrupting our minds and stressing us out.” (ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff maintains that he is “all behavioral” and, therefore, he does not belong in the IMHU. (Id.)

         In addition to monetary damages, Plaintiff requests proper medical/mental health care, clean living conditions, and ...


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