United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 91 S.Ct. 1999
(1971), by pro se plaintiff John Thomas Spurlock
(“Spurlock”), who is not proceeding in forma
pauperis in this matter. Spurlock appears to have been
released from federal custody, but was an inmate at the
Federal Correctional Institute at Oakdale, Louisiana
(“FCIO”), when the complained-of events occurred
and at the time this suit was filed. Doc. 1; see
doc. 4 (notice of change of address).
matter was 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 this court.
alleges that Medical Staff Nurse Phillips and Administrator
Clint Sonnier, defendants in this matter and staff members at
FCIO, altered and deleted medical records he had requested
from January and February 2014. Doc. 1, p. 4. He maintains
that these records “implicate several staff
members” in denying him medical care, and that the
failure of FCIO staff to properly diagnose and treat him
after he had contracted H1N1 influenza led to near fatal
complications. Id. He also alleges that FCIO Health
Services Administrator Johnson and Acting Warden Becky Clay
“failed to supervise the collection, retention and
release to [him of his] complete medical record without
omission.” Id. Spurlock names other FCIO staff
as defendants, but does not allege any specific wrongdoing on
their part. See Id. at 2-4. In relief he seeks
“actual and punitive damages” in the amount of
$1, 000, 000. Id. at 4.
& Analysis A. Frivolity
claims are subject to screening under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under that law, a
district court is required to review any civil complaint in
which a prisoner seeks relief against a government entity,
officer, or employee, regardless of whether he has paid the
filing fee, and to dismiss same under § 1915A(b)(1) if
the complaint is frivolous.Thompson v. Hayes, 542
Fed. App'x 420, 420-21 (5th Cir. 2013). 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). When determining whether a complaint is frivolous, the
court must accept plaintiff's allegations as true.
Horton v. Cockrell, 70 F.3d 397, 400 (5th Cir.
Bivens/42 U.S.C. § 1983
law provides a cause of action against any person who, under
the color of state law, acts to deprive another of any right,
privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution and laws
of the United States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A
Bivens action is the counterpart for those acting
under color of federal law of a suit brought under §
1983. E.g., Abate v. Southern Pacific Transp.
Co., 993 F.2d 107, 110 n. 14 (5th Cir. 1993); see
also Dean v. Gladney, 621 F.2d 1331, 1336 (5th Cir.
1980) (“The effect of Bivens was, in essence, to create
a remedy for federal officers, acting under color of federal
law, that was analogous to the section 1983 action against
state officials.”) 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 federal law; that is, that the defendant was a
government actor. See West v. Atkins, 108 S.Ct.
2250, 2254-55 (1988).
Rule 8 Considerations
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a pleading
to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under Rule 8, the complaint must allege
“sufficient facts from which the court can determine
the existence of subject matter jurisdiction and from which
the defendants can fairly appreciate the claim made against
them.” Bynum v. Terrebonne Parish Consol.