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Lewis v. Goodwin

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

February 3, 2015



KAREN L. HAYES, Magistrate Judge.

Pro se plaintiff Gerald Ray Lewis, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 on December 19, 2014. Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of Louisiana's Department of Corrections (DOC). He is incarcerated at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC) and complains that he was denied due process when he was accused of a disciplinary violation and transferred from the Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) to DWCC. He also complained that he has been the subject of threats of violence by corrections officers at DWCC; and, that he has been the victim of retaliation by corrections officers at DWCC because of grievances he has filed.

This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636 and the standing orders of the Court. For the following reasons it is recommended that the complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous and for failing to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

Statement of the Case

Prior to July 28, 2014. plaintiff was a DOC inmate imprisoned at the LSP. On July 14, 2014, the Main Prison Walnut/Hickory Hobby Shop was closed for a "shake down" or search for contraband. The search uncovered two cell phones with chargers, some synthetic marijuana, and an undisclosed amount of money.

On July 16, 2014, plaintiff was questioned by investigation service officials. In addition, plaintiff voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination. According to plaintiff, he heard one of the officials say that he "passed" the test. On July 18, 2014, plaintiff appeared before the Disciplinary Hearing Board and a full investigation was ordered.

On July 28, 2014, plaintiff was transferred to DWCC without further disciplinary hearings or written notice of transfer. Plaintiff was also denied the opportunity to meet with the classification committee at LSP. He did meet with the classification committee at DWCC and they placed plaintiff in Extended Lock Down along with five other inmates who were involved in the Hobby Shop shake down and transferred from LSP to DWCC.

Plaintiff corresponded with "the governing bodies" of DWCC concerning his due process concerns; however, he received no response. On August 17, 2014, plaintiff submitted an Administrative Remedies Procedure grievance (ARP). On November 17, 2014, plaintiff spoke with DWCC's Warden Jerry Goodwin concerning his August 17 ARP. Goodwin contacted LSP and requested a copy of the investigation report. It was faxed to him and he read it to plaintiff. The Warden then asked plaintiff to drop the ARP but plaintiff refused. The Warden then told plaintiff that the meeting was terminated and denied the existence of a polygraph report in the investigation file.

On December 1, 2014, plaintiff filed an ARP with LSP. On December 13, 2014, at 9:40 p.m., Sgts. Thornton and Freeman restrained plaintiff and his cell mate; according to plaintiff the restraints on his ankles and wrists were too tight. Once the pair were restrained, Thornton and Freeman conducted a search of the cell. Plaintiff claims that the officers handled his legal work and letters "in an unprofessional manner." When plaintiff inquired as to the reason for their behavior, Thornton replied "in a harsh tone per order Col. Nail due to ARP and next time you might be taking a trip out into the lobby so stand against the wall and be quiet." (Plaintiff later discovered that the "lobby" is where inmates are taken to be beaten out of sight of electronic surveillance equipment.)

According to plaintiff his wrists and ankles became numb due to the tightness of the restraints. Capt. Heard arrived on the scene and inquired if there were a problem; plaintiff gestured and was told by Heard that "it can get worse." Plaintiff asked the officers to close the window in front of the cell but they ignored his request and he was thus exposed to "extreme cold" throughout the remainder of the night. Further, the heater was turned off until the next shift change.

On December 16, 2014, recreational officer Wallace used profanity towards plaintiff "without reason." When plaintiff was passed over for "yard call" he asked Wallace to explain the oversight and Wallace replied, "that's what we do to inmates who file ARPs." Plaintiff also complained that his written requests for telephone privileges are refused by corrections officers; that the window is left open and the heater turned off thus exposing plaintiff to cold weather. He claimed that his mail is held past the "inspector date."

On December 18, 2014, plaintiff was awakened by Capt. Heard and Sgt. Murphy at 1:30 a.m. He was again placed in restraints and another search of his cell was conducted. During the course of the search of plaintiff's bunk, Heard was seen "scanning through legal materials and letters..." Heard then again asked plaintiff if he was ready to drop his ARP and when plaintiff did not respond, Heard remarked, "he must not been introduce to the lobby yet."

On December 30, 2014, plaintiff stopped Col. Nail and asked if they could converse. Once Nail realized plaintiff's identity, and that he had a pending ARP, he refused to continue their conversation., According to plaintiff he ...

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