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Gladden v. Corperal Money

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

May 10, 2018

TYRONE DONTE GLADDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
CORPERAL MONEY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          L. PATRICK AULD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This case comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for a recommendation on Defendant's “Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim” (Docket Entry 9) (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed no response to the Motion. (See Docket Entries dated Mar. 26, 2018, to present.)[1] For the reasons that follow, the Court should grant in part and deny in part the Motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Tyrone Donte Gladden (the “Plaintiff”), a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se, commenced this action in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Corperal [sic] Money (the “Defendant”) in her individual and official capacities, alleging that Defendant engaged in “[c]ruel [and] unusual punishment”[2] and “[d]enial of due process” in violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. (Docket Entry 2 (the “Complaint”) at 2-3.)[3] According to the Complaint:

“[Defendant] is the over-seer of the 8th fl[oor] [of the Forsyth County Detention Center]. She has kept [Plaintiff] from using the phone, recreation, and shower. [Plaintiff is] forced to leave [his] cell in full restraints, not allowed access to the phone when out of cell like the policy handbook suggests. [He is f]orced to read & write in full restraints when [Plaintiff has] done nothing to [warrant] impos[ing] such treatment.” (Id. at 4.) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that, on November 30, 2017, “[Defendant] allowed [Plaintiff] access to the law library to research law[.] [He] had to be in full restraints while [he] read & wr[o]te in the multipurpose room on the 8th floor[.] This was . . . [c]ruel & unusual punishment[.]” (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that “[he] was taken from regular population & placed in admin[istrative] seg[regation] for no reason [even though he] ha[s] not broken any policy rules . . . .” (Id.)

         In response, Defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint (see Docket Entry 9), alleging that a “legitimate penological interest” justified Plaintiff's treatment (Docket Entry 10 at 2). In particular, Defendant asserts that

Plaintiff, based upon his behavior while incarcerated, has been classified as a high security risk and as such is handcuffed and feet shackled together secured [] by a waist chain anytime he is moved within the facility. Information provided by a Winston[-]Salem Police Detective [indicated] that [P]laintiff . . . planned to take a gun from a Deputy Sheriff, hold the Deputy hostage and shoot witnesses[, which resulted in P]laintiff's administrative segregation in jail. Thereafter, during a routine cell search of [P]laintiff's cell, two shanks were discovered together with other contraband. This discovery justified the administrative order placing [P]laintiff in full restraints . . . .

(Id.) Beyond the foregoing, Defendant simply argues in conclusory fashion that Plaintiff pled insufficient factual matter. (See id. at 5.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Official Capacity Claim

         With respect to local government officials, official capacity liability attaches under Section 1983 only if “execution of a government's policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury.” Collins v. City of Harker Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 121 (1992) (internal quotation marks omitted). Notably, an official's discretionary acts, exercised in carrying out official duties, do not necessarily represent official policy. Gantt v. Whitaker, 203 F.Supp.2d 503, 509 (M.D. N.C. 2002). “Rather, the official must have ‘final authority' over government policy with respect to the action in question” to trigger official capacity liability. Id. (quoting Pembaur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 481-82 (1986)).

         Here, Plaintiff alleges injury from Defendant's actions, but does not assert that Defendant acted pursuant to any official policy or custom of the Forsyth County Detention Center. (See Docket Entry 2.) Nor does the Complaint allege that Defendant possesses “final authority” over any such policy that contributed to his alleged injury. (See id.) The in forma pauperis statute provides that “the [C]ourt shall dismiss the case at any time if the [C]ourt determines . . . the action . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Plaintiff has not stated a claim against Defendant in her official capacity, and the Court should thus dismiss that aspect of Plaintiff's claim.

         II. Individual Capacity Claim

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) “tests the sufficiency of a complaint, ” but “does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin,980 F.3d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). Accordingly, in reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must “accept the facts alleged in the [C]omplaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals,626 F.3d 187, 189 (4th Cir. 2010), aff'd sub nom., Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md., 566 U.S. 30 (2012). The Court must also “draw all ...


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