Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Alexander v. Morgan

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

March 26, 2018

SHANNON ALEXANDER (#298078)
v.
TERRY MORGAN, ET AL.

          NOTICE

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen (14) days after being served with the attached Report to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which have been accepted by the District Court.

         ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.

         MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         The pro se plaintiff, an inmate confined at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (“LSP”), Angola, Louisiana, filed this proceeding pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Major Terry Morgan and Sgt. Daniel Stewart complaining that his constitutional rights were violated due to deliberate indifference to his safety and the issuance of a false disciplinary report. He prays for monetary damages.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A, this Court is authorized to dismiss an action or claim brought by a prisoner who is proceeding in forma pauperis or is asserting a claim against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity if satisfied that the action or claim is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. An action or claim is properly dismissed as frivolous if the claim lacks an arguable basis either in fact or in law. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992), citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hicks v. Garner, 69 F.3d 22, 24-25 (5th Cir. 1995).

         A claim is factually frivolous if the alleged facts are “clearly baseless, a category encompassing allegations that are ‘fanciful, ' ‘fantastic, ' and ‘delusional.'” Id. at 32-33. A claim has no arguable basis in law if it is based upon an indisputably meritless legal theory, “such as if the complaint alleges the violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.” Davis v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005 (5th Cir. 1998). The law accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim which is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the factual allegations. Denton v. Hernandez, supra, 504 U.S. at 32. Pleaded facts which are merely improbable or strange, however, are not frivolous for purposes of § 1915. Id. at 33; Ancar v. Sara Plasma, Inc., 964 F.2d 465, 468 (5th Cir. 1992). A § 1915 dismissal may be made any time, before or after service or process and before or after an answer is filed, if the court determines that the action “is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1116, 1999 (5th Cir. 1986).

         The plaintiff alleges the following in his Complaint: On August 8, 2016, Major Terry Morgan stated that the plaintiff was a snitch and a homosexual. Major Morgan then issued a false disciplinary report for a Rule 21(C) violation, which was later dismissed for lack of evidence. Sgt. Daniel Stewart stated to Major Morgan that he was right because the plaintiff was a snitch and a homosexual.

         The plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim cognizable in this Court. First, as to any claims the plaintiff is asserting against the defendants in their official capacities, section 1983 does not provide a federal forum for a litigant who seeks the recovery of monetary damages against state officials acting in their official capacities, specifically because these officials are not seen to be “persons” within the meaning of § 1983. Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 (1989). Additionally, in Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991), the United States Supreme Court addressed the distinction between official capacity and individual capacity lawsuits and made clear that a suit against a state official in his official capacity for monetary damages is treated as a suit against the state and is therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Id. at 25. Accordingly, the plaintiff's claim for monetary damages asserted against the defendants in their official capacities is subject to dismissal. In contrast, the plaintiff's claim for monetary damages asserted against the defendants in their individual capacities remains viable because a claim against a state official in his individual capacity, seeking to impose liability for actions taken by the official under color of state law, is not treated as a suit against the state. Of course, the plaintiff must prove a deprivation of a constitutional right to obtain any relief.

         Turning to the plaintiff's claims asserted against the defendants in their individual capacities, the plaintiff is not entitled to the recovery of compensatory damages in this case because he has not alleged a physical injury sufficient to support such recovery. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), a prisoner plaintiff is barred from the receipt of compensatory damages for mental or emotional injury in the absence of some showing of physical injury. Accordingly, this aspect of the plaintiff's claim should be rejected. Although the plaintiff might still be entitled to recover nominal or punitive damages, see Hutchins v. McDaniels, 512 F.3d 193, 198 (5th Cir. 2007), he would need to establish some constitutional violation by the defendants in order to merit such recovery.

         With regards to the issuance of the disciplinary report by Major Morgan, the issuance of a false disciplinary report, without more, fails to state a claim of federal constitutional dimension cognizable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, the law is clear that the mere issuance of one or more false disciplinary reports and the imposition of resulting punishment does not alone amount to a constitutional violation. See Grant v. Thomas, 37 F.3d 632 (5th Cir. 1994), citing Collins v. King, 743 F.2d 248, 253-54 (5th Cir. 1984) (“[T]here is no due process violation if a prisoner, who is falsely accused of charges, is given an adequate state procedural remedy to challenge the accusations”). Further, the failure of prison officials to follow prison rules or regulations does not amount to a violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Jackson v. Cain, 864 F.3d 1235, 1252 (5th Cir. 1989).

         In the instant matter, the plaintiff alleges that the rule violation was dismissed for lack of evidence; therefore, the plaintiff was not sentenced to any form of punishment. As such, the plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         Turning to the plaintiff's claim for deliberate indifference to his safety, courts have recognized that a correctional officer may act with deliberate indifference to an inmate's safety when the officer disseminates information to other inmates that the inmate is an informant, and the inmate is subsequently attacked by co-inmates. SeeWhite v. Fox, 470 F. App'x. 214, 223 (5th Cir. 2012) (concluding that if the defendant in fact “informed another prisoner that [the plaintiff] acted as an informant, then whether [the defendant] acted with deliberate indifference to [the plaintiff's] safety by creating a risk of assault is a question for the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.