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Martin v. LeBlanc

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

June 11, 2019

SYLVESTER MARTIN, Plaintiff
v.
JAMES LEBLANC, ET AL., Defendants

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

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

         Before the Court is the civil rights Complaint and Amended Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Docs. 1, 11) filed by pro se Plaintiff Sylvester Martin (“Martin”) (#129262). Martin is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (“DOC”), incarcerated at the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport, Louisiana (“RLCC”). Martin alleges that he was subjected to excessive force and convicted of false disciplinary reports.

         Because Martin fails to state a claim against Defendants, except an excessive force claim against Warden Poret, all other claims and Defendants should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         Martin alleges that he was in the infirmary on a medical callout when he saw Warden Poret outside of the window walking past the infirmary. Martin exited the infirmary and called out the warden's name. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Warden Poret did not respond, so Martin began to walk toward the warden. Martin alleges that Warden Poret turned around and grabbed Martin by the shirt and slammed him against a fence, seriously injuring Martin's right shoulder. (Doc. 1, p. 5; Doc. 11, p. 1). A disciplinary charge related to the incident was dismissed. (Doc. 1-2, p. 2; Doc. 10-1, p. 3).

         Martin further alleges that approximately one year later, he was “verbally abused” by Sgt. Bordelon for no reason and received a disciplinary conviction. (Doc. 1., p. 7). Martin was sentenced to 14 days without phone and recreation privileges. (Doc. 10-1, p. 1). Martin also received another disciplinary conviction for which he was sentenced to five months of administrative segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Martin seeks compensatory and punitive damages, additional medical care, and a transfer to Hunt Correctional Center. (Doc. 1, p. 11).

         II. Law and Analysis

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

         Martin is a prisoner 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, Martin'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); Rosborough v. Mgmt. and Training Corp., 350 F.3d 459, 461 (5th Cir. 2003) (holding that prison management corporations and their employees are state actors under § 1983). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Martin'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.

         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. Martin cannot state a claim for false disciplinary reports or a wrongful disciplinary conviction.

         Martin claims that Defendants issued a false disciplinary report to cover up the excessive force by Warden Poret. However, the disciplinary report related to the incident with Warden Poret was dismissed. (Doc. 1-2, p. 2; Doc. 10-1, p. 3). Therefore, even if the report was false, Martin did not suffer any harm. Moreover, allegations that a plaintiff was reported or punished for an act he did not commit do not amount to a denial of due process where the state provides a procedurally adequate hearing. Collins v. King, 743 F.2d 248 (5th Cir. 1984); see also Fisher v. Turner, 14-cv-575, 2015 WL 5697307, at *2 (W.D. La. Sept. 8, 2015) (an inmate has no constitutional protection from being wrongly charged with a disciplinary offense), report and recommendation adopted, 2015 WL 5708249 (W.D. La. Sept. 28, 2015) (citing Freeman v. Rideout, 808 F.2d ...


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