United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
MARK A. CASSON, Plaintiff
MATT POWELL, ET AL., Defendants
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a civil rights Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1983 (Docs. 1, 8) filed by pro se Plaintiff Mark A. Casson
(“Casson”) (#467213). Casson is an inmate in the
custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections,
incarcerated at the Riverbend Detention Center in Lake
Providence, Louisiana. Casson alleges that he was subjected
to excessive force during his arrest. Casson names as
Defendants Officer Matt Powell, the Natchitoches
Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force, and Agent Jeffrey
the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force is not
a legal entity, Casson's claims against it should be
DENIED, and the entity should be DISMISSED from this suit,
alleges that Defendants arrived at his home claiming to have
received complaints regarding drug trafficking. (Doc. 1, p.
7). Casson fled the scene. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Casson states that
he was apprehended, handcuffed, and returned to his
residence, which was being searched. While handcuffed, Casson
fled again. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Casson was caught behind his
residence. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
alleges that Defendants Powell and Kelly choked Casson,
slammed him to the ground, kneed him in the back, pressed
their elbows into his neck, and placed their hands over
Casson's “mouth and nose in a suffocating
manner.” (Doc. 8, p. 1). Casson was taken to the
hospital and treated for muscle pain in his neck. (Doc. 1, p.
8; Doc. 1-2, p. 1). Casson was then transported to the
Natchitoches Parish Detention Center (“NPDC”).
(Doc. 1, p. 8).
Amended Complaint, Casson states that he was charged with
possession of various narcotics. (Doc. 8, p. 1). Casson
provides that he entered a guilty plea to one of the drug
charges, and the remaining charges were dismissed. (Doc. 8,
p. 1). Casson does not allege that he was charged with, or
convicted of, resisting arrest. (Doc. 8).
Law and Analysis
Casson's complaint is subject to screening under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b) and 1915A.
is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. 5). As a
prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a
governmental entity, Casson's Complaint (Doc. 1) is
subject to preliminary screening pursuant to § 1915A.
See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80
(5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in
forma pauperis, Casson's complaint is also subject to
screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both § 1915(e)(2)(B)
and § 1915A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of a
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.
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. 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); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
Casson cannot state a claim against a task
Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force is not a
juridical person amenable to suit. Rule 17 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure provide that the capacity to sue or
be sued shall be determined by the law of the state in which
the district court is held. Fed.R.Civ.P. 17. Thus, Louisiana
law governs whether the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional
Task Force is an entity with the capacity to sue or be sued.
Under Louisiana law, to possess such a capacity, an entity
must qualify as a juridical person. This term is defined ...