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. 1]. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2);
1915A. The Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. [Doc.
Plaintiff Quamaine Lee Massey, a North Carolina state court
inmate currently incarcerated at Tabor Correctional
Institution in Tabor City, North Carolina, filed this action
on March 13, 2019, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff names as Defendants FNU Goins, identified as a
sergeant at Alexander Correctional Institution
(“Alexander”) and FNU Johnson, identified as a
correctional officer at Alexander. Plaintiff claims that
Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment “by using blameworthy
state of mind by giving false [unintelligible]
statements.” [Doc. 1 at 5].
Plaintiff claims that on January 20, 2019, Plaintiff was
given a non-violent disciplinary infraction. Defendant Goins
came to Plaintiff's cell and told Plaintiff “to
cuff up for no reason.” Goins put handcuffs on
Plaintiff “super tight around [his] wrists” and
broke Plaintiff's pinky finger in the process. Defendant
Goins then took Plaintiff to the shower and made Plaintiff
strip naked, while Defendant Johnson and “other
officers” took Plaintiff's property. [Doc. 1 at 5].
further alleges that, on January 22, 2015, Defendant Goins
put Plaintiff on a Nutraloaf diet for eight days for the same
infraction. Plaintiff claims that, while on the Nutraloaf
diet, he “starve[d] for 8 days for no reason.”
[Id. at 5, 6].
relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages or “5 years
off [his] sentence.” [Doc. 1 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. Const. 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).
brings an Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for what
Plaintiff calls “using a blameworthy state of
mind…” [Doc. 1 at 5]. Given Plaintiff the
benefit of every reasonable inference, the Court will
construe his claim as one based on the use of excessive force
as to the alleged acts on January 20, 2019. In examining 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 recently
reiterated that “[a]n inmate who is gratuitously beaten
by guards does not lose his ability to pursue an excessive
force claim merely because he has the good fortune to escape
without serious injury.” Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559
U.S. 34, 38 (2010). In Wilkins v. Gaddy, the Supreme
This is not to say that the “absence of serious
injury” is irrelevant to the Eighth Amendment inquiry.
“[T]he extent of injury suffered by an inmate is one
factor that may suggest ‘whether the use of force could
plausibly have been thought necessary' in a particular
situation.” The extent of injury may also provide some
indication of the amount of force applied. As we stated in
Hudson, not “every malevolent touch by a
prison guard gives rise to a federal cause of action.”
“The Eighth Amendment's prohibition of ‘cruel
and unusual' punishments necessarily excludes from
constitutional recognition de minimis uses of physical force,
provided that the use of force is not of a sort repugnant to