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Morris v. Lafayette Parish Correctional Center

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

May 20, 2019

REGINALD T MORRIS #1077432
v.
LAFAYETTE PARISH CORRECTIONAL CENTER ET AL

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Carol B. Whitehurst United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pro se plaintiff Reginald T. Morris, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 on March 18, 2019. Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of Louisiana's Department of Public Safety and Corrections and was incarcerated at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center (LPCC) at the time of his filing. He complains that LPCC did not provide a safe environment by having “non medical inmates” housed with “classified inmates.” He has brought suit against LPCC and Deputy Donnie McDaniels.

         This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636 and the standing orders of the Court. For the following reason it is recommended that the complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous and for failing to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that on March 8, 2019, he was attacked by a fellow inmate, causing him to fall and injure his knee. He contends that LPCC did not provide a safe environment by having “non medical inmates” housed with “classified inmates.” [Rec. Doc. 1, p. 3] Plaintiff, a 60 year old man, was classified as “medical” and assigned to Unit 5A and blames the altercation on the fact that a non medical inmate was housed with the injured. He alleges that security was “aware of the situation with non medical inmate housed in the medical unit” and that Deputy McDaniels was not around to stop the altercation. Id. at p. 5.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Frivolity Review

         Morris has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. Accordingly, his complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint or any portion thereof if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

         A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Gonzalez v. Wyatt, 157 F.3d 1016');">157 F.3d 1016, 1019 (5th Cir. 1998). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it is clear the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Doe v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 153 F.3d 211');">153 F.3d 211, 215 (5th Cir. 1998). When determining whether a complaint is frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the court must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true. Horton v. Cockrell, 70 F.3d 397, 400 (5th Cir. 1995) (frivolity); Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d at 1025 (failure to state a claim).

         2. Juridical Person

         Plaintiff has named LPCC as a defendant. However, Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 17(b) provides that the “capacity to sue or be sued shall be determined by the law of the state in which the district court is held.” Thus, Louisiana law governs whether LPCC has the capacity to be sued in this action. Under Louisiana law, to possess such a capacity, an entity must qualify as a “juridical person.” This term is defined by the Louisiana Civil Code as “... an entity to which the law attributes personality, such as a corporation or partnership.” La. Civ.Code Ann. art. 24.

         LPCC is not an entity capable of being sued. LPCC is a parish corrections facility operated by the Sheriff of Lafayette Parish. Piearson v. Corr. Ctr. Lafayette Parish, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95214, 2006 WL 4012476 (citing La. Atty. Gen. Op. No. 03-0437, 2003 WL 23146623; Langley v. City of Monroe, 582 So.2d 367 (La.App.2d Cir. 1991) and La. R.S.15:702 (The parish governing authority is charged with the duty to provide a good and sufficient jail and to provide for the physical maintenance of parish jails and prisons; however, the administration of such jails is within the province of the sheriff who has the duty of operating the jail and insuring that prisoners are properly cared for, fed and clothed.) Accordingly, plaintiff's claims against this non-juridical entity are frivolous and dismissal on that basis is recommended.

         3. Classification of Inmates/Transfer

         Federal law provides a cause of action against any person who, under the color of law, acts to deprive another person of any right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Thus, in order to hold the defendants liable, a plaintiff must allege facts to show (1) that a constitutional right has been violated and (2) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting ...


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