United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
RAYSHAUN J. CHRISTMAS, Plaintiff
JAMES LEBLANC, ET AL., Defendants
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. Perez-Montes, United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is a civil rights complaint (42 U.S.C. § 1983)
filed by pro se Plaintiff Rayshaun J. Christmas
(“Christmas”) (#433850). Christmas was granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 4).
Christmas is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana
Department of Corrections (“DOC”), incarcerated
at the David Wade Correctional Center (“DWCC”) in
Homer, Louisiana. Christmas complains that Defendants Major
McFarland and Lt. Hayes failed to protect him from an attack
by another inmate when he was housed at Winn Correctional
Center in Winnfield, Louisiana.
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.
alleges he stopped Major McFarland after pill call to inform
him that Christmas and another inmate were involved in a fist
fight about a cell phone on their shared tier, Birch-B1.
(Doc. 13, p. 5). The inmate threatened to kill Christmas if
he returned to the B1 tier. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). Major
McFarland responded that he did not have time at that moment
to deal with the issue. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). Christmas then
told Lt. Hayes about the problem. Lt. Hayes also advised
Christmas that he did not have time to address the problem at
that moment because a shift change was imminent. (Doc. 1, p.
then exited his tier and went to visit a friend on the
Birch-A1 tier. (Doc. 13, p. 6). When Christmas was leaving
the Birch-A1 tier, he was attacked by the inmate that had
threatened him, and Christmas suffered serious injuries.
(Doc. I, pp. 5-6). Christmas received a disciplinary charge
for being on the Birch-A1 tier.
Law and Analysis
Christmas's complaint is subject to screening under
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis. As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer
or employee of a governmental entity, Christmas's
complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d
578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is
proceeding in forma pauperis, Christmas's
complaint is also subject to screening under §
1915(e)(2). Both §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)
provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint,
or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or
malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an
arguable basis in law when it is “based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at
327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted when it fails to plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
Christmas cannot show Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference or that Defendants' actions caused his
officials have a duty to protect inmates from violence by
other inmates, and to take reasonable measures to protect
their safety. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
832-33 (1994). However, not every injury “by one
prisoner at the hands of another ... translates into
constitutional liability for prison officials responsible for
the victim's safety.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. Prison officials can be held liable for their failure to
protect an inmate only when they are deliberately indifferent
to a known substantial risk of serious harm. See
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834; Newton v. Black, 133
F.3d 301, 308 (5th Cir. 1998). A plaintiff must show that he
was incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk
of serious harm and that prison officials were deliberately
indifferent to his safety or his need for protection.
Neals v. Norwood, 59 F.3d 530, 533 (5th Cir. 1995).
official is deliberately indifferent to an inmate's
health and safety only if he knows that the inmate faces a
“substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that
risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate
it.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 847; see Jones v.
Greninger, 188 F.3d 322, 326 (5th Cir. 1999). The United
States Fifth Circuit has explained that “[d]eliberate
indifference is a conscious choice to endanger constitutional
rights.” Mesa v. Prejean, 543 F.3d 264, 274
(5th Cir. 2008) (quoting Snyder v. Trepagnier, 142
F.3d 791, 799 (5th Cir. 1998)). “Deliberate
indifference cannot be inferred merely from a negligent or
even a grossly negligent response to a substantial risk of
harm.” Thompson v. ...