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Vallo v. Cooley

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

December 27, 2017

PRINCETON S. VALLO DOC # 130190/545296
v.
KEITH COOLEY, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          ORDER

          KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is a civil rights complaint [doc. 1] filed in forma pauperis by pro se plaintiff Princeton S. Vallo (“Vallo”). Vallo is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and is currently incarcerated at Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. However, his claims relate to events that occurred while he was incarcerated at Allen Correctional Center (“ALC”) in Kinder, Louisiana. Vallo names the following ALC personnel as defendants herein: Warden Keith Cooley, Michelle Harmon, Mrs. Griffin, Travis Jackson, Austin Riser, Sergeant Philips, Captain Sonnier, Sergeant Wells, M.D. Hurst, and Nurse Hebert.

         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.

         I.

         Background

         Vallo alleges that on June 6, 2016, defendant Harmon denied his “right to be read my rights & [Disciplinary Board] member Griffin did not do her job & issue me one after requested . . . .” Doc. 1, p. 3. He states that after the above incidents occurred, defendant Jackson grabbed the chain connected to his handcuffs and shackles, dragged him out of the disciplinary board hearing, and began stomping, kicking, and punching him. Id. Vallo claims that defendants Riser and Philips “came [to] help & . . . started kicking & punching” him too. Id. He states that defendant Wells then “came in with the camera.” Id. Vallo contends that he was then picked up by the chain and held in the air “with all the pressure on my wrist & ankles swelling up in excruciating pain, ” and that he screamed for help. Id. Vallo alleges that the defendants knew that he could have walked but instead choose to pick him up “like a dog then . . . dropped [him] & picked [him] up again, [and] threw [him] in a cell.” Id. He maintains that once in the cell he put his arms through the tray hatch in order to be unrestrained and that defendant Philips “yanked my chains before he uncuffed me[, ] swelling & cutting up my wrist & ankles.” Id. Vallo alleges that although Captain Sonnier and Sergeant Wells had a camera during the incident, he does not believe that they reported anything to GEO. Id. at 4.

         Vallo complains that when he saw Nurse Hebert she did not give him an ice pack to help reduce the swelling. Id. at 3. He further contends that he did not see “M.D. Hurst again[, ] even after Hebert said she would refer [Vallo's] chart over to him. She said if he wants you to get evaluated by him he'll do so because he reads all sick call request forms.” Id. at 4.

         As relief, Vallo asks for $500, 000 in punitive damages and $250, 000 in compensatory damages for the “ongoing nerve damage that was inflicted by the beating with the cuffs to [his] left forearm, together with the pain, suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish & paranoia of any officer, & phobic of cuffs & shackles on [him] around officers with chemical agent spray, guns, & badges.” Id.

         II.

         Applicable Law

         A. Frivolity Review

         Vallo has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Doc. 8. This Act directs a district court to dismiss an action if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d 1022, 1025 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii)).

         A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Gonzalez v. Wyatt, 157 F.3d 1016, 1019 (5th Cir. 1998). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it is clear the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Doe v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 153 F.3d 211, 215 (5th Cir. 1998). When determining whether a complaint is frivolous or fails to states a claim upon which relief may be granted, the court must accept plaintiff's ...


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