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Dukes v. Parish

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

June 4, 2018

DERRICK DUKES
v.
SHERIFFS OFFICE WEBSTER PARISH, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          ELIZABETH E. FOOTE JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Derrick Dukes is incarcerated at Bayou Dorcheat Detention Center and is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. He filed the instant Complaint on March 29, 2018, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He names “Sheriffs Office Webster Parish, ” Warden John Lewis, and Jerry Ray as Defendants.[1] For the following reasons, it is recommended that Plaintiff's claims against “Sheriffs Office Webster Parish” be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.[2]

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that, on February 27, 2018, Defendants fired him from his position at the “auto shop” in the Webster Parish Jail because he is a Muslim and a part of Islam. He claims that, two days before his termination, Defendant Ray stated that he did not want Plaintiff at the auto shop because Plaintiff was a Muslim. In addition to losing his job, Defendants placed him in “the hole” twenty-four hours per day for fifty-eight days in March and April of 2018. Plaintiff spent eight of those days in freezing temperatures with only a steel bed, no clothes, no recreation, cold food, and no lighting.

         Plaintiff amended his Complaint on May 18, 2018. He first clarified that Warden Lewis gave direct orders to confine him under the conditions set forth above. He also alleges that the conditions he endured caused back pain, hypothermia, constipation, sleep deprivation, hallucinations, and “prayer disruption.” Plaintiff withdrew his purported retaliation claim, but he nevertheless alleges that Defendant Ray fired him out of “discrimination against [Plaintiff's] religion . . . .”

         Plaintiff seeks $20, 000.00 in compensatory damages for the discrimination he experienced and an unstated amount of compensatory damages for the conditions of confinement he endured.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Preliminary Screening

         Plaintiff is an inmate who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. As an inmate seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, his complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.[3] See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir.1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his 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.

         A 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. Courts are also afforded the unusual power to pierce the veil of the factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id.

         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); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Likewise, a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it appears that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proven consistent with the allegations of the complaint. Of course, in making this determination, the court must assume that all of the plaintiff's factual allegations are true. Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d 1022, 1025 (5th Cir. 1998).

         A civil rights plaintiff must support his claims with specific facts demonstrating a constitutional deprivation and may not simply rely on conclusory allegations. Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 662; Schultea v. Wood, 47 F.3d 1427, 1433 (5th Cir. 1995). Nevertheless, a district court is bound by the allegations in a plaintiff's complaint and is “not free to speculate that the plaintiff ‘might' be able to state a claim if given yet another ...


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