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Woods v. Department of Public Safety

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

June 17, 2019

TRAVON LEVI WOODS, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney, Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint, filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Doc. 1]. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2); 1915A. The Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. [Doc. 2, 7].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Travon Levi Woods (“Plaintiff”), who is a North Carolina state court inmate currently incarcerated at Scotland Correctional Institution (SCI) in Laurinburg, North Carolina, filed this action on December 13, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff makes two claims. One is in the nature of an excessive force claim in violation of his constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff also claims Defendants violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights in relation to Plaintiff's attempt to use the grievance procedure related to and after his alleged attack. [Doc. 1 at 3]. In his Complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants (1) the Department of Public Safety; (2) Ronald Covington, identified as a Captain at SCI; FNU Barnes, identified as a Unit Manager at SCI; and FNU Hunt, identified as a Correctional Officer at SCI. [Id. at 1-2].

         Plaintiff alleges specifically as follows:

I, inmate/prisoner Travon Woods opus #1280490 was led to receiving and assaulted while restrained by officials led by Cpt. Covington, even though I was completely cooperative to their demands.
Cpt. Covington repeatedly threatened me, and gave orders to the co-defendants. Barnes physically assaulted me with the nightstick and hands while [I was] restrained. A. Hunt maced me and neglected to stop the assault.
The defendants have officials falsifying technicalities to turn down (make null and void) my grievances that I've filed. Many attempts have been made with my adjustments to fit requirements with no avail.

[Id. at 2-3].

         As injuries from the alleged assault, Plaintiff states he suffered bruises and abrasions. [Id. at 3]. As relief, Plaintiff seeks various injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages for his physical pain, humiliation, and “mental traumatic damages.” [Id. at 5].

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because 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.

         In its 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).

         III. ...


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