United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
(Doc. No. 1). 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Plaintiff has been
granted in forma pauperis status. (Doc. No. 5).
Plaintiff Cornelius Delane Benton, a North Carolina inmate
incarcerated at Alexander Correctional Institution in
Taylorsville, North Carolina, filed this action on June 8,
2017, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has named
the following two persons as Defendants, both identified as
correctional officers at Alexander at all relevant times: (1)
FNU Cliffton and (2) FNU Streets. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants used excessive force against Plaintiff in
violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights on March
12, 2017. Plaintiff alleges the following facts to
support his claim:
On 3-12-17 while at work in kitchen, some trays drop on the
floor by other workers. At this time, officer Sruggs came in
the kitchen. Ask the window worker why the trays drop he
stated they slipped out his hand. On[ce] Officer Sruggs out
of the kitchen he turns to Plaintiff stop and stated you need
to get in the hallway. Few seconds Lt. Cliffton comes around
the corner and states he's being disrespectful, put him
in handcuffs. Sgt. Streets was pulling on Plaintiff and
slammed me into the wall. Plaintiff head gets slammed to the
floor by Sgt. Streets. Lt. Cliffton put his knee in Plaintiff
back and punch Plaintiff in my face, and takes the shower key
tried to stab Plaintiff eyes out but only Lt. Cliffton did
was blacking my eye.
(Doc. No. 1 at 5) (grammatical errors in original). As for
Plaintiff's injuries, Plaintiff alleges the following
I had an black eye but is still giving Plaintiff problems
that was caused by Defendant Mr. Cliffton putting his knee in
Plaintiff back on the floor in full restraints. I am having
pain on my side caused by Defendant Sgt. Streets slamming
Plaintiff to the floor and Lt. Cliffton punches me in the
face. Plaintiff has sores around my wrists by the key Mr.
Cliffton had in his hands. Plaintiff experience discomfort,
pain, and soreness around my wrists and side and back.
(Id. at 7) (grammatical errors in original).
Plaintiff seeks unspecified injunctive and declaratory
relief. (Id. at 8).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous or
malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore,
under § 1915A the Court must conduct an initial review
and identify and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief.
frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Furthermore, a
pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the liberal
construction requirement will not permit a district court to
ignore a clear failure to allege facts in his Complaint which
set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387
(4th Cir. 1990).
Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of “cruel and
unusual punishments, ” U.S.
amend. VIII, and protects prisoners from the
“unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, ”
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986). To
establish an Eighth Amendment claim, an inmate must satisfy
both an objective component-that the harm inflicted was
sufficiently serious-and a subjective component-that the
prison official acted with a sufficiently culpable state of
mind. Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761 (4th
Cir. 1996). In adjudicating an excessive force claim, the
Court must consider such factors as the need for the use of
force, the relationship between that need and the amount of
force used, the extent of the injury inflicted, and,
ultimately, whether the force was “applied in a good
faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or
maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing
harm.” Albers, 475 U.S. at 320-21.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court has reiterated that
“[a]n inmate who is gratuitously ...