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Griffin v. State

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

December 28, 2017

LUCAS GRIFFIN DOC # 195329
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the court is the civil rights complaint [doc. 4] filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by plaintiff Lucas Griffin, who is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this matter. Griffin is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and is currently incarcerated at the Calcasieu Correctional Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

         I.

         Background

         Griffin raises claims of police brutality against several officers, relating to events that occurred before he was brought to the Calcasieu Correctional Center. See doc. 4, pp. 2-3. Namely, he alleges that Corporal Treadway turned a dog loose on him, which bit him several times, and that Officer Romero tased him in the back, attempted to drown him, and struck him repeatedly, even after he was in handcuffs. Id. at 3. As defendants in this suit he names Corporal Treadway and Officers Romero, Roberson, Tatum, Sawyer, and Fontenot, all of whom he alleges are members of the Lake Charles Police Department. Id. In a previous, deficient complaint he also mentioned that he intended to file suit against the State of Louisiana, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Lake Charles Police Department. Doc. 1. In relief he seeks monetary damages and requests that criminal charges be pressed against the officers. Doc. 4, p. 4.

         II.

         Law & Analysis

         A. Frivolity Review

         Griffin has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. Accordingly, his complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint or any portion thereof if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

         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 state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the court must accept plaintiff's allegations as true. Horton v. Cockrell, 70 F.3d 397, 400 (5th Cir. 1995) (frivolity); Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d at 1025 (failure to state a claim).

         B. Section 1983

         Federal law provides a cause of action against any person who, under the color of law, acts to deprive another person of any right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Thus the initial question is whether the plaintiff has alleged that his constitutional rights have been violated. If no constitutional violation has been alleged, there is no cognizable claim that would entitle plaintiff to relief. In order to hold the defendants liable, a plaintiff must allege facts to show (1) that a constitutional right has been violated and (2) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; that is, that the defendant was a state actor. West v. Atkins, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 2254-55 (1988).

         C. ...


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