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Adams v. Landry

United States District Court, D. Maine

November 14, 2017

JON ROBERT ADAMS, Plaintiff
v.
SCOTT LANDRY, 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 Jon Robert Adams, an inmate at the Maine Correctional Center, alleges Defendants failed to protect him from harm by other prisoners. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff also seeks to recover under state law.

         Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 5), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 6.) 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 Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Dudley, Emerson, Fitzpatrick, and Landry.

         Standard of Review

         The federal in 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).

         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).

         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), 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).

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff alleges that another prisoner assaulted him on March 31, 2015. (Complaint ¶ 31, ECF No. 1.) According to Plaintiff, prior to the assault, he provided Defendants Penny Bailey, Glean Brown, and Scott McCaffery, employees of the Maine Department of Corrections, [1] with information regarding threats other inmates posed to his safety, but said defendants denied or ignored Plaintiff's requests for protective custody. (Id. ¶¶ 5 - 10, 15 - 30.)

         Plaintiff asserts that after the assault, he was again placed in housing that exposed him to a significant risk of harm by other prisoners. Subsequently, Plaintiff directed requests for a protective custody cell assignment to Defendants Robert Dudley, Joseph Fitzpatrick, and Scott Landry.[2] (Id. ¶¶ 37, 47, 48, 51, 56, 58, 59, 63, 66, 67, 80.) Plaintiff has not alleged that he experienced another assault.

         Discussion

          A. Plaintiff's ...


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