United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby, U.S. Magistrate Judge
Townsend (“Plaintiff”) is an inmate housed at the
David Wade Correctional Center (“DWCC”).
Plaintiff alleges that he was forced to apply for a Pell
Grant and participate in a class. He named as defendants
three DWCC officials and the class instructor who was
employed by an area college. Before the court is a
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13) filed by the
DWCC officials. For the reasons that follow, it is
recommended that the motion be granted and that the court
sua sponte dismiss the claims against the college
12(b)(6); Section 1915
movants ask the court to dismiss the claims against them
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. In assessing a motion
to dismiss, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded
facts in the complaint and view those facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. In re Katrina Canal Breaches
Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007). Those
facts must state a claim that rises above the speculative
level and is plausible on its face. Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007); Amacker
v. Renaissance Asset Mgmt., LLC, 657 F.3d 252, 254 (5th
Cir. 2011). A complaint is not sufficient if it offers only
“labels and conclusions, ” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(quoting Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965).
is proceeding as a pauper, which gives the court an
additional basis to review his complaint. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) & (ii), the district court shall
dismiss an IFP complaint at any time if it determines that
the complaint is frivolous or malicious or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. A complaint is
frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. It
lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint
alleges the violation of a legal interest which clearly does
not exist. The complaint lacks an arguable basis in fact if,
after providing the plaintiff the opportunity to present
additional facts when necessary, the facts alleged are
clearly baseless. Rogers v. Boatright, 709 F.3rd
403, 407 (5th Cir. 2013).
alleged in his complaint that he was put on callout in
November 2018 for a Wiley College program, without his
knowledge, and was told to fill out paperwork to see if he
was eligible for a Pell Grant. A few weeks later, he was
again put on callout and was “being made to take the
class by DWCC.” Plaintiff alleged that he spoke to the
facilitator, Tracy Andrus, and told him that he did not want
to take the class at that time. Andrus allegedly responded
that he understood, that Plaintiff did not have to take the
class, and that Plaintiff would be dropped from the class
before it began.
alleged that DWCC nonetheless “kept putting me on
mandatory callout with the threat of locking me up if I
didn't show up.” Plaintiff alleged that he attended
the class but did not complete any work because Mr. Andrus
told him that he had been dropped from the course. Plaintiff
alleged that it seemed to him as if DWCC was conspiring to
commit some form of fraud or malfeasance. His complaint
demanded that DWCC or Wiley College return any grant money to
the federal student aid department, pay him for the cost of
this suit, and not retaliate against him.
listed as defendants DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin, Assistant
Warden Kayla Sherman, and Tammie Wynn. But the factual
allegations in Plaintiff's complaint did not mention any
of those officials or any other particular DWCC official.
Those three defendants filed a motion to dismiss.
responded to the motion to dismiss with an amended complaint
(Doc. 19) that consisted of documents that allegedly support
the original allegations. Those documents include purported
affidavits from two fellow prisoners, but neither is executed
by a notary. The written statements say that the inmates
heard Mr. Andrus tell Plaintiff that he did not have to take
the class and that he would be dropped from it before work
began. Another document is a Student Aid Report
Acknowledgment from the Department of Education to Plaintiff.
The letter states that, based on an application, it appeared
Plaintiff may be eligible for a Pell Grant of up to $5, 920.
Another letter from the Department to Plaintiff states that
it is unable to cancel his application for student aid, but
he should inform the financial aid office at the school he
planned to attend if he will not enroll and apply for federal
student aid. The financial aid office would be responsible
for cancelling any aid the school awarded.
amended complaint also included a letter that Plaintiff wrote
to Mr. Andrus and Wiley College. The letter recounts
Plaintiff's assertion that, before class started, he told
Mr. Andrus that he wanted to be dropped from the class, and
Mr. Andrus agreed to do so. DWCC nonetheless kept Plaintiff
on the callout for the class, with the threat of a write-up
if he did not attend. Plaintiff described how he had written
to the Department of Education “to stop my Pell Grant
money because I wasn't ...