United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 9). Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. See (Doc. No.
se Plaintiff has filed a civil rights suit pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 with regards to an incident that
allegedly occurred at the Marion Correctional Institution
where he is still incarcerated. The Complaint was dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and Plaintiff
was given the opportunity to file an Amended Complaint, which
is presently before the Court on initial review. See
(Doc. No. 8).
names as Defendants Sergeant Pruitt, Officer Kalinowski, and
Officer Brigth. Construing the Amended Complaint liberally
and accepting the allegations as true, Plaintiff was in a
cell in the North Wing of Marion C.I. at 14:05 hours on
January 4, 2018, when Officer Kalinowski cuffed him, then
pushed and hit him with closed fists. Officer Brigth jumped
in to help Kalinowski. Sergeant Pruitt tried to spray
Plaintiff but another officer stopped her. Plaintiff also
alleges that “[t]hey jump on me cause we was in my cell
no crame for me by gay and then Sgt. spray me and said you a
gay ass Muslim.” (Doc. No. 9 at 4). In addition, his
prayer rug was taken by Officers Brigth and Sergeant Pruitt.
leg was cut, he was sprayed which still hurts, and he has
“small redness” to his head and neck, for which
he was given ibuprofen. (Doc. No. 9 at 5).
seeks the return of his prayer rug, transfer from the
institution or “fixs it where no inmate be in cell with
officer, ” and $3, 000. (Doc. No. 9 at 5).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to
determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds
that it is “(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In its
frivolity review, a 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). A complaint
should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
“unless ‘after accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and
drawing all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in
the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the
plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his
claim entitling him to relief.'” Veney v.
Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231,
244 (4th Cir. 1999)).
pro se complaint must be construed liberally.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see
also Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th
Cir. 2009) (“Liberal construction of the pleadings is
particularly appropriate where … there is a pro
se complaint raising civil rights issues.”).
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). A
pro se complaint must still contain sufficient facts
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007); see Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (the Twombly
plausibility standard applies to all federal civil complaints
including those filed under § 1983). This
“plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to
demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully.” Francis v. Giacomelli,
588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted). He must articulate facts that, when
accepted as true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling
him to relief. Id.
treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions
under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the
Eighth Amendment, ” Helling v. McKinney, 509
U.S. 25, 31 (1993). In its prohibition of “cruel and
unusual punishments, ” the Eighth Amendment places
restraints on prison officials, who may not, for example, use
excessive physical force against prisoners. See Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1 (1992).
prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two
requirements are met. First, the deprivation alleged must be,
objectively, “sufficiently serious, ” Wilson
v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991); see also
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 5, and must result in the denial of
“the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities, ” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S.
337, 347 (1981). The second requirement is that a prison
official must have a “sufficiently culpable state of
mind.” Wilson, 501 U.S. at 297, 302-03;
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 5, 8. “[T]he use of
excessive physical force against a prisoner may constitute
cruel and unusual punishment [even] when the inmate does not
suffer serious injury.” Hudson, 503 U.S. 1, 4
(1992); see Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 34
(2010). The “core judicial inquiry, ” is not
whether a certain quantum of injury was sustained, but rather
“whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to
maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and
sadistically to cause harm.” Hudson, 503 U.S.
at 7. “When prison officials maliciously and
sadistically use force to cause harm, ” the Court