United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff Robert McKenney, an inmate detained in the
Androscoggin County Jail, alleges Defendants committed
various violations of his constitutional rights, including
violations of his right to due process in connection with
disciplinary proceedings in the jail. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.)
Plaintiff also requests a preliminary injunction. (Statement
of Claim at 4, ECF No. 1-1).
has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF
No. 2), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 3.) 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).
a review of the complaint and the attachments filed by
Plaintiff, I recommend the Court dismiss Plaintiff's
claims, except for Plaintiff's claim of retaliation based
on the alleged denial of participation in a work program.
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).
addition to the review contemplated by § 1915,
Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff is currently
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).
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
November 1, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred from Cumberland
County Jail to Androscoggin County Jail because jail
administrators concluded Plaintiff had an inappropriate
relationship with a member of the staff at the Cumberland
County Jail. (Statement of Claim at 1, ECF No. 1-1, ¶ 1,
PageID # 4.) Defendant Officer Farrinton, described by
Plaintiff as a programs officer, told Plaintiff he would not
receive work through the Androscoggin County Jail if the work
would place him near women. Defendant Farrinton allegedly
called Plaintiff a “manipulator” and
“predator.” (Id.) Plaintiff filed
complaints with the jail about his interaction with Defendant
Farrinton, but Defendant Lieutenant Feldman returned the
complaints and advised Plaintiff not to file frivolous
complaints or Plaintiff would be placed in segregation.
November 24, 2016, Plaintiff received a disciplinary write-up
for assault. At a subsequent hearing on the matter, the
disciplinary board found him guilty and sentenced him to 10
days in segregation. (Id. ¶ 2.) Defendant
Farrinton was the chairperson of the board. (Id.)
Plaintiff also asserts Defendant Farrinton informed him that
as part of the discipline, he would not be permitted to work
for the balance of his sentence. (PageID # 6.) At the
hearing, Plaintiff was not permitted to call witnesses, or
review the officer's reports or the alleged victim's
statement. (Id.) Defendants Officer Stone and
Corporal Prosser, who were present at the hearing, did not
intervene when Plaintiff objected to Defendant
Farrinton's participation and his violation of
Plaintiff's constitutional rights. (Id.)
also asserts that when he complained to the jail about
certain insults, including that he was a “rapist
dirtbag, ” made by a corrections officer, Defendant
Farrinton informed him the alleged insults did not support a
complaint. (PageID # 6.) In addition, Plaintiff maintains
Defendant Farrinton denied Plaintiff credit for work
Plaintiff performed in November 2016 (PageID # 10), and
denied Plaintiff good time credit for Plaintiff's work in
November. (PageID # 11.) According to Plaintiff, when he
complained about the good time, Defendant Farrinton
determined the complaint was frivolous, and threatened
Plaintiff with disciplinary action if Plaintiff continued to
file such complaints. (Id.)
alleges that before he filed this action, he wrote numerous
requests to Defendants Stone and Farrinton for the services
of a notary public, law materials, and access to a copier.
The requests were ignored. (PageID # 12.)
motion for preliminary injunction, Plaintiff asks the Court
to transfer him back to the Cumberland County Jail. (PageID #
7.) Plaintiff also asks the Court to direct Defendants to
implement a policy that prevents officers from answering
complaints against them. (PageID # 9.) Finally, Plaintiff
evidently requests an ...