United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
WELLS ROBY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a complaint filed by the pro se pauper Plaintiff
Madison Marshall, III (“Marshall”) filed against
Defendant Sheriff James Pohlman. In accordance with Title 28
U.S.C. § 636(c) and the consent of the parties, this
matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge
for all further proceedings and entry of judgment. R. Doc.
12. Upon review, the Court has determined that the complaint
is frivolous. As such, for the following reasons, the
Plaintiff's claims against Sheriff Pohlman are
October 28, 2016, the Plaintiff Madison Marshall, III filed
the instant complaint. R. Doc. 1. On November 1, 2016, the
Court granted Marshall's request to proceed in forma
pauperis. Marshall alleges that from August 19, 2016
through September 29, 2016 he was living in an unfit
environment in the St. Bernard Parish jail. He alleges that
the toilets did not function and that he had to smell urine
for a week where he slept and ate. R. Doc. 1, p. 5. Marshall
also states that he complained about the feeding situation as
the plastic plates were filthy and dirty with black stains.
Id. at p. 5, 8. Moreover, he complains that the
showers were full of mold and mildew. Id. He further
states that water leaked everywhere in the shower and that
the only cleaning supplies were a mop and broom. Id.
Marshall asserts that he filed complaints with the Ranking
St. Bernard Deputys, but that he was ignored. Marshall seeks
$500, 000 for the unsanitary practices and environments he
was housed in as well as the unfit living quarters.
Id. at p. 6.
Standard of Review
District Court may dismiss without prejudice a pro se
litigant's complaint if it is frivolous or
malicious.” Harris v. United States Dept. of
Justice, 680 F.2d 1109, 1111 (5th Cir. 1982) (citing
Mitchell v. Beaubouef, 581 F.2d 412, 416 (5th Cir.
1978)). As the Fifth Circuit in Harris explained:
The two stage procedure that has been adopted in this Circuit
for processing prisoner pro se complaints filed in forma
pauperis has full application in the present context for
it gives adequate protection to those not represented by
attorneys and comports with the explicit provisions of 28
U.S.C. [§] 1915. The District Court first decides
whether the litigant meets the economic requirements to
proceed in forma pauperis. Then, pursuant to [§]
1915[(e)(2)], the Court may dismiss the complaint if, upon
giving it the liberal reading traditionally granted pro se
complaints, it determines that it is unmeritorious, frivolous
680 F.2d at 1111 (internal citations omitted); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Phillips
v. City of Dallas, 2015 WL 233336, at *4 (N.D. Tex. Jan.
14, 2015) (noting that “a district court may summarily
dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it
concludes that the action” is frivolous, malicious or
fails to state a claim).
Court has broad discretion in determining the frivolous
nature of the complaint. See Cay v. Estelle, 789
F.2d 318 (5th Cir. 1986), modified on other grounds,
Booker v. Koonce, 2 F.3d 114 (5th Cir. 1993). However,
the Court may not sua sponte dismiss an action
merely because of questionable legal theories or unlikely
factual allegations in the complaint.
is frivolous only when it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989); Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 213 (5th Cir.
1998). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based
on an undisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the
complaint alleges the violation of a legal interest which
clearly does not exist. Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d
716, 718 (5th Cir. 1999). It lacks an arguable factual basis
only if the facts alleged are "clearly baseless, "
a category encompassing fanciful, fantastic, and delusional
allegations. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25, 32-33 (1992); Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28.
Therefore, the Court must determine whether the
plaintiffs' claims are based on an undisputably meritless
legal theory or clearly baseless factual allegations.
Reeves v. Collins, 27 F.3d 174, 176 (5th Cir. 1994);
see Jackson v. Vannoy, 49 F.3d 175, 176-77 (5th Cir.
1995); Moore v. Mabus, 976 F.2d 268, 269 (5th Cir.
has named Sheriff Pohlman as defendants, seeking to hold him
liable in his supervisory roles in the facility. However, a
supervisory official cannot be held liable pursuant to §
1983 under any theory of respondeat superior simply
because an employee or subordinate allegedly violated the
plaintiff's constitutional rights. See Alton v. Texas
A&M Univ., 168 F.3d 196, 200 (5th Cir. 1999);
see also Baskin v. Parker, 602 F.2d 1205, 1220 (5th
Cir. 1979). Moreover, a state actor may be liable under
§ 1983 only if he “was personally involved in the
acts causing the deprivation of his constitutional rights or
a causal connection exists between an act of the official and
the alleged constitutional violation.” Douthit v.
Jones, 641 F.2d 345, 346 (5th Cir. 1981); see also
Watson v. Interstate Fire & Cas. Co., 611 F.2d 120
(5th Cir. 1980).
has not alleged that Sheriff Pohlman was personally involved
in not properly providing a clean living facility. The only
alleged connection Sheriff Pohlman appears to have with the
case is that he should be in charge of the St. Bernard Parish
Jail. Without some personal action or connection which would
render Sheriff Pohlman liable under § 1983,
Marshall's claims against Sheriff ...