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Godeaux v. Tubbs

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

October 23, 2018


         SECTION P




         Plaintiff Charles C. Godeaux, a detainee at Morehouse Parish Jail proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant Complaint on July 16, 2018');">8');">8');">8, under 42 U.S.C. § 198');">8');">8');">83. He names Sheriff Mike Tubbs, Warden Carl Patrick, Lt. Richard Smith, Lt. Chuck Lord, Cpl. White, Nurse Goodson, Nurse Pennington, Officer Butch Aulds, Deputy Higginbottom, and Mail Officer Patricia Cisk as Defendants.[1]

         For the following reasons, it is recommended that, with the exception of Plaintiff's claim against Warden Carl Patrick and Sheriff Mike Tubbs concerning the deprivation of incoming mail, as well as his claim against Defendants Goodson, Pennington, Patrick, and Tubbs concerning his lack of glasses, Plaintiff's claims be dismissed.


         Plaintiff claims that “waste gets on outgoing mail” because detainees are forced to place mail in a cracker box next to mops and brooms. He claims that other detainees have access to the cracker box and can potentially view sensitive documents. He also claims that mail is “often picked up by inmate workers and logged in by inmate workers, ” that he has not received two pieces of mail that he knows were mailed to him, and that other detainees' legal mail is often open when they receive it. [doc. #s 8');">8');">8');">8, pp. 7-9; 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, p. 15].

         Plaintiff next alleges that food at the facility is placed on trays covered in black mold. He also complains that food is “unsanitary, ” served cold, and served by inmates who do not wash their hands or wear protective paraphernalia. [doc. #s 1, p. 3');">p. 3; 8');">8');">8');">8, pp. 4-5]. Moreover, the bathroom walls, ceilings, and floors “have black mold[, ]” and the toilets, urinals, and a ceiling in a bathroom all leak. Id. The black mold is detrimental to Plaintiff's sinuses.

         Plaintiff alleges further that he has no access to a law library, he is not allowed to purchase legal books, and, although he was given a “tablet device . . . with a law application on it[, ]” he did not know how to use it. Id.

         Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on August 15, 2018');">8');">8');">8, raising new claims. [doc. # 8');">8');">8');">8, p. 3');">p. 3]. On January 22, 2018');">8');">8');">8, he asked Nurse Pennington for “eye care” and Pennington responded, “As long as you are housed in this jail, you will never see an eye doctor.” [doc. # 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, p. 3');">p. 3]. On March 7, 2018');">8');">8');">8, he requested glasses, complaining of constant, severe headaches, blurred vision, and an inability to read or write. [doc. # 8');">8');">8');">8, p. 3');">p. 3]. Nurse Goodson responded that she was not required to take him to an eye doctor, that Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office (“MPSO”) does not contract with an eye doctor, and that MPSO does not provide glasses to inmates. [doc. #s 8');">8');">8');">8, p. 3');">p. 3; 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, p. 3');">p. 3]. He adds that he was charged for the visit even though he received “no relief.” Id. at 3-4.

         Next, Plaintiff alleges that Nurse Pennington allows correctional officers to open his medication packages without gloves. Id. at 3. Also, Deputy Higginbottom dropped Plaintiff's blood pressure medicine in dust, dirt, and lint. [doc. # 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, p. 5]. He alleges, relatedly, that, on October 15, 2017, and October 22, 2017, Officer Aulds told him that he did not have any sinus medication to dispense to Plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff amended once more on September 11, 2018');">8');">8');">8, raising yet another new claim. [doc. # 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, p. 6]. For the first time, Plaintiff claims that he has a “chronic heart condition with a pacemaker” and that Nurse Pennington, Nurse Goodson, Deputy Higginbottom, Officer Aulds, Warden Patrick, and Sheriff Tubbs refused to arrange or approve an appointment with a physician at University Health and Hospitals. Id. at 6-7. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Burkett implanted the pacemaker in November of 2016 and instructed Plaintiff to “be seen every 3 months until further notice.” Id. Plaintiff informed “medical” about his condition, but he “was denied the right to be seen by his heart doctor for well over 8');">8');">8');">8 to 9 months.” Id.

         Plaintiff asks the Court to order medical attention for his exposure to mold, correct the mail system and the “way food is transported and kept, ” order the facility to maintain a law library and allow detainees to purchase legal books from publishers, and award $10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, 000.00 on each claim for his pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Preliminary Screening

         Plaintiff 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, his complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28');">8');">8');">8 U.S.C. § 1915A.[2] See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578');">8');">8');">8, 579- 8');">8');">8');">80 (5th Cir.1998');">8');">8');">8) (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 (198');">8');">8');">89). 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');">8');">8');">8 (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, 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">1022');">157 F.3d 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">1022, 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">1025 (5th Cir. 1998');">8');">8');">8).

         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 opportunity to add more facts to the complaint.” Macias v. Raul A. (Unknown) Badge No. 153, 23 F.3d 94, 97 (5th Cir. 1994).

         A hearing need not be conducted for every pro se complaint. Wilson v. Barrientos, 8');">8');">8');">80');">926 F.2d 48');">8');">8');">80, 48');">8');">8');">83 n.4 (5th Cir. 1991). A district court may dismiss a prisoner's civil rights complaint as frivolous based upon the complaint and exhibits alone. Green v. McKaskle, 78');">8');">8');">88');">8');">8');">8 F.2d 1116, 1120 (5th Cir. 198');">8');">8');">86).

         2. Mail

         Plaintiff first claims that “waste gets on outgoing mail” because detainees are forced to place mail in a cracker box next to mops and brooms. [doc. # 8');">8');">8');">8, p. 8');">8');">8');">8]. He adds, in his most recent pleading, that mail is at risk of “being destroyed by random fire” because the box is made of cardboard. [doc. # 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10, p. 15]. Plaintiff does not, however, allege that the box, or its location, affected any of his mail.

         Relatedly, Plaintiff claims that other detainees have access to the cracker box and can potentially view sensitive documents, that mail is “often picked up by inmate workers and logged in by inmate workers, ” that legal mail is “held an excessive amount of time, ” that legal mail is not “logged in, ” and that other detainees' legal mail is often open when they receive it. [doc. #s 8');">8');">8');">8, p. 8');">8');">8');">8; 10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');">10');"> ...

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