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Scott v. Gusman

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 20, 2015

MEDERICK SCOTT,
v.
MARLIN N. GUSMAN, ET AL

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

DANIEL E. KNOWLES, III, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Mederick Scott, a state pretrial detainee, filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman, Warden Bonita J. Pittman, and Sergeants Weaver, West, Gibson, Dorsey, and Jimison. In this lawsuit, plaintiff challenges the conditions of his confinement within the Orleans Parish Prison system.

To better understand the factual bases of plaintiff's claims, the Court held a Spears hearing on January 26, 2015. See Spears v. McCotter , 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985). "[T]he Spears procedure affords the plaintiff an opportunity to verbalize his complaints, in a manner of communication more comfortable to many prisoners." Davis v. Scott , 157 F.3d 1003, 1005-06 (5th Cir. 1998). The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has observed that a Spears hearing is in the nature of a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) motion for more definite statement. Eason v. Holt , 73 F.3d 600, 602 (5th Cir. 1996). Spears hearing testimony becomes a part of the total filing by the pro se applicant. Id.

I. Standards of Review

Federal law mandates that federal courts "review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).[1] Regarding such lawsuits, federal law further requires:

On review, the court shall 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 upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

Additionally, with respect to actions filed in forma pauperis, such as the instant lawsuit, federal law similarly provides:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal -
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary damages against a defendant who is immune ...

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