United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING AMENDED
COMPLAINT AND PROPOSED SUPPLEMENTAL PLEADING PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
action, Plaintiff Albion Savage Browne, formerly an inmate in
the custody of the Maine Department of Corrections, alleges
that while he was incarcerated, the staff of the Maine
Correctional Center, including corrections staff and medical
staff, violated his constitutional rights. Plaintiff filed an
application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2), which
application the Court granted. (ECF No. 4).
February 8, 2017, after a review in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claim
against the Maine Department of Corrections, his claim
against the Maine Correctional Center, and his claim based on
his work assignments. (Order Affirming Recommended Decision,
ECF No. 7; Recommended Decision, ECF No. 5.) The Court also
afforded Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to
assert a claim against the parties Plaintiff believed were
responsible for the medical care of his eye. (Id.)
March 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a lengthy amended complaint
(ECF No. 10) in which he provided additional facts regarding
his vision. He also attempts to assert claims related to
various other matters, including claims against State
Defendants the Court previously dismissed because the claims
are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. On March 16 and 17,
2017, Plaintiff filed additional documents, which have been
entered on the docket as a motion to extend time to amend the
complaint further (ECF Nos. 11 and 11-1) and a supporting
memorandum. (ECF No. 12.)
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's amended
complaint and supplemental pleadings is appropriate. After
review of Plaintiff's amended complaint and the
supplemental pleadings, I recommend the Court deny
Plaintiff's motion to extend time to further amend his
complaint,  and I recommend the Court dismiss
Plaintiff's amended complaint.
forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is designed to
ensure meaningful access to the federal courts for those
persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an action. When a
party is proceeding in forma pauperis, however, “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” or “seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 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).
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
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),
this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not
required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim,
Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir.
1980). To allege a civil action in federal court, it is not
enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a defendant
acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts
that identify the manner by which the defendant subjected the
plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a remedy.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
filings, Plaintiff attempts to assert claims based on the
following: (1) underlying criminal proceedings in Maine state
court that resulted in Plaintiff's sentence of
incarceration, which proceedings Plaintiff evidently
maintains violated Maine's motor vehicle law; (2)
Plaintiff's belief that he has a constitutional right to
travel, which right was violated by Maine's licensure
laws; and (3) Plaintiff's eye health and treatment during
his approximate 24-month incarceration at the Maine
to his incarceration, Plaintiff experienced a severe injury
when he was shot in the eye with a frozen paintball. (Am.
Compl. at 6, ECF No. 10.) Although “the components of
vision were intact, ” the healing process extended for
a period of months. (Id.) When Plaintiff was
sentenced, apparently based on his status as a habitual
offender, Plaintiff was continuing to recover from his
Maine Correctional Center, Plaintiff received care for his
eye from employees of Correct Care Solutions (CCS), the Maine
Department of Corrections' contract provider for medical
services. According to Plaintiff, individuals responsible for
the care denied and delayed access to prescribed care.
(Id. at 5.) During his incarceration, physical
activity that increased Plaintiff's heart rate caused
“internal hemorrhaging and loss of vision, which took
weeks to return.” (Id.)
result of his condition, Defendants, including correctional
staff, excluded Plaintiff from, or denied him access to,
activities and programs such as woodshop, automotive repair,
recreation and work release. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff
also asserts that “the extreme consequences of any
foreign body or even slight trauma to the eye”
presented extremely serious challenges for him. (Id.
at 7.) Moreover, Plaintiff regularly experienced nausea,
dizziness, headaches, and poor depth perception due to his
eye injury. (Id.)
maintains that given his injury, the state court's
sentence of incarceration and the conditions of confinement
amounted to “torture.” (Id.) Although
Plaintiff states that the conditions were “not the
result of a single person committing an act with [the]
purposeful, deliberate intention of violating constitutional
rights, ” Plaintiff asserts that the State of Maine,
Department of Corrections, and the State's
“agents” are liable for the combined effects
because they incarcerated Plaintiff “for a victimless
motor vehicle charge.” (Id.) Plaintiff asserts
that incarceration, under the circumstances, served “no
penological purpose.” (Id.)
further asserts that corrections officers assigned Plaintiff
to “exceedingly dangerous work assignments.”
(Id. at 8.) In addition, other inmates occasionally
caused injury to Plaintiff. (Id.) The work
assignments evidently involved outdoor weeding activity and
lawn care, which exposed Plaintiff to dust and debris, and
kept him bent over so that pressure increased on his eye.
(Id. at 10, 16 - 17.) Plaintiff also complains of
exposure to winter ice and snow particles, which he
encountered during some walks to the mess hall. (Id.
went a “few weeks” without prescribed eye drops,
but CCS staff obtained the drops “ASAP after being told
the seriousness of the condition by the surgeons.”
(Id. at 11.) A member of CCS staff provided
Plaintiff with a “keep on person” prescription
for his eye drops, and restricted Plaintiff to a lower bunk
after he fell from a ladder. (Id. at 12.) The prison
eye doctor informed ...