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Dukes v. Unnamed Defendant

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

January 28, 2019

DERRICK DUKES
v.
UNNAMED DEFENDANT, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY, JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Karen L. Hayes, United States Magistrate Jugde.

         Plaintiff Derrick Dukes, a prisoner at Jackson Parish Correctional Center Phase II proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant proceeding on August 31, 2018, under 4');">4');">4');">42 U.S.C. § 1983. He names LaSalle Management and the Warden of Madison Parish Correctional Center as Defendants.[1] For the following reasons, Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges in his initial pleading that, when he was confined in Madison Parish Correctional Center (“MPCC”), [2] he endured hazardous living conditions. [doc. # 1]. He claims that some toilets and urinals would overflow and others would not flush, resulting in “a smell which is a brewing house for bacteria infection, Hep C, HIV, and aids [sic].” Id. Approximately 203 toilets had “bags over them . . . .” Id. The sinks and showers lacked water pressure, and the water contained rust and lead. Id. Plaintiff adds that he was forced to eat his meals in those conditions. Id. He asks the Court to inform him of any “thing [he] can do” and to “inform the proper authority of [the conditions] so [he and forty-two other inmate signatories to the pleading] can get some help . . . .” Id. at 1-2.

         In his second pleading, Plaintiff names LaSalle Management as a defendant and specifies that the conditions described above occurred between August 28, 2018, and September 6, 2018. [doc. # 4');">4');">4');">4, p. 3]. He asks the Court to “assess[]” LaSalle Management “to prove the misuse and misconduct of state money which should be . . . for better use such as (healthcare) [sic].” Id. at 4');">4');">4');">4.

         Plaintiff filed a third pleading on October 26, 2018, ostensibly naming the Warden of MPCC as a defendant and alleging that the warden refuses to remedy the “unsafe environment” and opens his legal mail before delivering it to him. [doc. # 9, pp. 1-2]. He also alleges that, because other inmates have been stabbed and beaten, he fears he will either be stabbed or forced to fight. Id. at. 1. He asks the Court to transfer him to another facility and to prevent officials at the facility from opening his legal mail.

         On November 15, 2018, Plaintiff informed the Court that he was transferred to Lafourche Parish Transitional Work Program. [doc. # 11]. On December 20, 2018, Plaintiff informed the Court that he was transferred to Jackson Parish Correctional Center Phase II. [doc. # 13].

         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 U.S.C. § 1915A.[3] See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 57980 (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, 4');">4');">4');">490 U.S. 319');">4');">4');">4');">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 on 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, 4');">4');">4');">44');">4');">4');">4');">550 U.S. 54');">4');">4');">44');">4');">4');">4, 570 (2007); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is facially plausible when it contains sufficient factual content for the court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Plausibility does not equate to possibility or probability; it lies somewhere in between. Id. Plausibility simply calls for enough factual allegations to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence to support the elements of the claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         Assessing whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, supra. A well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes the court that actual proof of the asserted facts is improbable, and that recovery is unlikely. Twombly, supra.

         Likewise, a complaint fails to state a claim on 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. 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). However, the same presumption does not extend to legal conclusions. Iqbal, supra. A pleading comprised of “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” does not satisfy Rule 8. Id. “[P]laintiffs must allege facts that support the elements of the cause of action in order to make out a valid claim.” City of Clinton, Ark. v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp, 4');">4');">4');">48');">632 F.3d 14');">4');">4');">48, 152-53 (5th Cir. 2010). Courts are “not free to speculate that the plaintiff ...


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