United States District Court, D. Maine
JON R. ADAMS, Plaintiff
MATTHEW MAGNUSSON, et al., Defendants
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER REVIEW OF PLAINTIFF'S
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff, formerly an inmate at the Maine State
Prison and now an inmate at the Maine Correctional Center,
alleges that Defendants failed to protect him from harm
inflicted by another inmate while he was assigned to the
prison. (Complaint, ECF No. 5-2.) Defendants consist of the
commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections
(Defendant Liberty), the warden of the prison (Defendant
Magnusson), and two corrections officers (Defendants Averill
filed his complaint in state court and Defendant Liberty
removed the case to this Court. (Notice of Removal, ECF No.
1.) In state court, Plaintiff filed an application to proceed
in forma pauperis (ECF No. 5-4), which application the state
court granted. (ECF No. 5-9.)
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).
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, I
recommend the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims against
Defendants Magnusson and Liberty.
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 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).
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”).
Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment,
as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment,
imposes a duty on prison officials to protect inmates from
violence at the hands of other inmates. Lakin v.
Barnhart, 758 F.3d 66, 70 (1st Cir. 2014). “That
duty has its origins in the forced dependency of
inmates[.]” Giroux v. Somerset Cty., 178 F.3d
28, 31 (1st Cir. 1999). “Having incarcerated
‘persons [with] demonstrated proclivit[ies] for
antisocial criminal, and often violent, conduct,' having
stripped them of virtually every means of self-protection and
foreclosed their access to outside aid, the government and
its officials are not free to let the state of nature take
its course.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
833 (1970) (quoting Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517,
extent Plaintiff asserts a § 1983 claim against an
individual defendant, however, Plaintiff's allegations
must support a finding that the individual, through his or
her individual actions, violated Plaintiff's
constitutional rights. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 676-77 (2009). “This does not mean, however, that
for section 1983 liability to attach, a supervisor must
directly engage in a subordinate's unconstitutional
behavior.” Guadalupe-Baez v. Pesquera, 819
F.3d 509, 515 (1st Cir. 2016). “[L]iability may attach
‘if a responsible official supervises, trains, or hires
a subordinate with deliberate indifference toward the
possibility that deficient performance of the task eventually
may contribute to a civil rights deprivation.”
Sanchez v. Pereira-Castillo, 590 F.3d 31, 49 (1st
Cir. 2009) (quoting Camilo-Robles v. Zapata, 175
F.3d 41, 44 (1st Cir.1999). In other words, each defendant is
entitled to an individualized assessment as to whether
Plaintiff has asserted an actionable claim against that
Plaintiff has not asserted any facts regarding the
involvement of Defendants Magnusson and Liberty in the
circumstances that resulted in the harm allegedly caused by
another inmate. Plaintiff thus has asserted no facts that
would support a claim against Defendants Magnusson and
Liberty either individually or in their official capacities.
Accordingly, dismissal of Defendants Magnusson and Liberty as
parties to this action is warranted.
on the foregoing analysis, after a review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, I recommend the Court
dismiss Plaintiff's ...