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Newell v. Howell

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

November 14, 2019

JONATHAN JAMES NEWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
SHELBY HOWELL, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [Doc. 11], filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A. Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. [Docs. 2, 7].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Jonathan James Newell (“Plaintiff”), a North Carolina state inmate currently incarcerated at Warren Correctional Institution located in Norlina, North Carolina, filed this action on April 12, 2019, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on May 24, 2019. [Doc. 11]. In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff names Shelby Howell, identified as a correctional officer at Alexander Correctional Institution (“Alexander”) as the sole Defendant in this matter. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Howell violated his Eighth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution by sexually harassing him, denying him full access to grievance procedures, and retaliating against him for filing grievances.[1]

         The Court takes the following allegations by Plaintiff as true for the purpose of this initial review:

Shelby Howell upset at my refusal to misuse the toilet to urinate. Made body shaming comments, repeatedly informed inmates I was gratifying myself and directs them to encourage me to misuse the toilet making multiple false allegations and reports.
Shelby Howell used her collegiality to disrupt the ability to report by grievances, PREA[2] and other avenues. She repeatedly relied upon collegiality to bully me into being written up relying upon unknown stuff to disrupt due process.
Due to the level of harassment I was repeatedly moved around dormitories and cells. The level of retaliation by her colleagues lead to loss of mail and other property loss of money due to frivolous write-ups. The level of bullying and relying upon inmates and staff to horseplay at my expense - even body shaming verbal abuse and finding my being sexually abused as a child funny while she continued to ignore the policy of privacy screening applied in policy.

[Doc. 11 at 3].

         For injuries, Plaintiff claims that, as a result of Defendant's conduct, he was impaired in his ability to rehabilitate and reform, that his welfare and well-being were adversely affected, and that he lost mail and other property. [Id. at 3]. Plaintiff seeks injunctive and monetary relief. [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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