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Barber v. Lanier

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

June 5, 2019

JOSHUA KEATON BARBER, Plaintiff
v.
SHERIFF LANIER, ET AL., Defendants

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ- MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is a civil rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by pro se Plaintiff Joshua Keaton Barber (“Barber”). Barber is a pretrial detainee at the Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. Barber complains he was subjected to excessive force by an officer at the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail, and that officers at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility (“CPCF”) failed to protect him from harm inflicted by other inmates.

         Because Barber cannot state a claim under § 1983, Barber's Complaint and Amended Complaint (Docs. 1, 23) should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE under § 1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A.

         I. Background

         Barber alleges that he was threatened with a knife by Officer Lanier at the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail. Barber also claims that Officer Lanier cut his shirt with the knife. (Doc. 1, p. 3).

         Barber alleges that he was attacked by other inmates at CPCF. (Doc. 1, p. 4). At some point, Barber was transferred or released. (Doc. 1-2, p. 1). However, after being transferred back to CPCF, Barber was attacked by other inmates. (Doc. 1, p. 4; Doc. 1-2, p. 1).

         Barber was ordered to amend his Complaint to provide additional information regarding his claims. Barber filed an Amended Complaint in which he moves to dismiss his claims against CPCF, Warden Moore, and Chief Byrnes, and to proceed only with the incident involving Officer Lanier. (Doc. 23).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Barber's Complaint is subject to screening under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         Barber is an inmate who has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 8). As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, Barber's Complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Barber'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 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. 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).

         B. Barber has not alleged a physical injury.

         “No federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in jail, prison or other correctional facility for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The physical injury required by § 1997e(e) must be more than de minimis, but need not be significant. See Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d 191 (5th Cir. 1997) (bruising and soreness for ...


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