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Kimble v. Corpening

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

June 11, 2019

WILLIAM KIMBLE, JR., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
HUBERT CORPENING, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          FRANK D. WHITNEY, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of the Second Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 17). Plaintiff Kimble is proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 22).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Kimble filed this civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while incarcerated at the Marion Correctional Institution. (Doc. No. 1). The Amended Complaint, which was filed on behalf of Plaintiff and a number of other inmates, was severely deficient and was dismissed on initial review. (Doc. Nos. 10, 12). The Court granted Plaintiffs 21 days within which to cure the deficiencies and cautioned them that failure to do so would probably result in dismissal. (Doc. No. 12). Only Plaintiff Kimble filed a Second Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 17), which is presently before the Court on initial review.

         Plaintiff Kimble names the following as Defendants in the Second Amended Complaint: Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter, Correctional Administrator H. Corpening, Assistant Superintendent of Programs David Cothron, Program Director III Julie Jenkins, and Program Director III Gary Swink.

         Liberally construing the Second Amended Complaint and accepting the allegations as true, Plaintiff had a hearing before the Director's Classification Committee (“DCC”) for a disciplinary infraction on January 24, 2018 at Pasquotank C.I. He was given 180 days on restrictive housing for assaulting another inmate. However, rather than restrictive housing, he was sent to Marion C.I. to be placed in the Rehabilitative Diversion Unit (“RDU”)[1] without notice or a hearing March 2, 2018.

         According to Plaintiff, Defendant Lassiter created the 13-month RDU program and was aware of Plaintiff's procedural due process rights. He claims that all of the Defendants acted with deliberate indifference and intentionally ignore Plaintiff's due process rights. He claims that the RDU is a 13-month three-step program during which the first 240 days consist of restrictive regulations that is basically single-cell confinement which was supposed to have been eliminated in 2017. He further complains that inmates are required to attend classes for two hours at a time, that inmates are shacked and handcuffed in 4-point restraints whenever they are out of the cell, they have to strip down when officers conduct regular cell searches, there is 24-hour lighting that prohibits sleep, and the officers treat inmates unprofessionally.

         As injuries, Plaintiff claims that has “develop[ed] some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety and emotional stress [and] had to see the doctor to be prescribed some medication for headaches and not being able to sleep at night or during the day.” (Doc. No. 17 at 5).

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs, a jury trial, and any additional relief the Court deems just, proper, and equitable. (Doc. No. 17 at 5).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because 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)).

         A 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.

         III. DISCUSSION

         (1) ...


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