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Dillon v. Manning

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

April 2, 2018

ANTONIO DILLON
v.
SGT. MANNING, ET AL.

         SECTION: "F"(3)

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL E. KNOWLES, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Antonio Dillon, a state prisoner, filed this pro se and in forma pauperis civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Sergeant Manning and Warden Jim Miller. In this lawsuit, plaintiff asserts claims arising from an accident at the Washington Parish Jail.[1]

         To better understand the factual bases of plaintiff s claims, the Court held a Spears hearing on March 15, 2018. See Spears v. McCotter. 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985). "[T]he Spears procedure affords the plaintiff an opportunity to verbalize his complaints, in a manner of communication more comfortable to many prisoners." Davis v. Scott 157 F.3d 1003, 1005-06 (5th Cir. 1998). The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has observed that a Spears hearing is in the nature of a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) motion for more definite statement. Eason v. Holt, 73 F.3d 600, 602 (5th Cir. 1996). Spears hearing testimony becomes a part of the total filing by the pro se applicant. Id.

         Based on plaintiffs complaint and Spears hearing testimony, the Court finds that he is making the following allegations in this lawsuit:

On May 6, 2017, plaintiff was incarcerated at the Washington Parish Jail. After Sergeant Manning removed a grate from a drain hole, plaintiff accidentally stepped into the hole and fell to the floor. Plaintiffs fellow inmates called for assistance, and Manning was the first officer on the scene. Manning then left, saying he would return; however, he never returned.

         After a shift change, two other officers came upon the scene. They said they were going to take a cigarette break and would return. However, before that occurred, a nurse notified plaintiff that an ambulance was on the way. Plaintiff was then transported to the hospital, and, approximately two and one-half hours after the accident, he first received medical attention. An x-ray was taken, and he was diagnosed as having a sprained ankle[2] and back pain. His ankle was wrapped, he was given pain medication, and he was sent back to the jail that same day.

         When plaintiff arrived back at the jail, he filed an administrative grievance. The following day, Warden Miller spoke to plaintiff, accused him of faking an injury, and asked him to sign a waiver dismissing his grievance. Plaintiff refused. However, he never received a response to the grievance.

         I. Screening Standards

         Federal law mandates that federal courts "review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).[3] Regarding such lawsuits, federal law further requires:

         On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint -

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28U.S.C. §1915A(b).

         Additionally, with respect to actions filed in forma pauperis, such as the instant lawsuit, federal law similarly provides:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the ...

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