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Mobley v. Henderson County Sheriff's Department

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

December 18, 2019

DAMON M. MOBLEY, Plaintiff,


          Frank D. Whitney, Chief United States District 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) and 1915A, and Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [Doc. 2].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Damon M. Mobley (“Plaintiff”) has filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the followings Defendants: (1) Henderson County Sheriff's Department; (2) Henderson County Detention Facility, including “Medical/Nurses Station”; (3) Officer Tankersley, identified as a courtroom bailiff; and (4) Officer Tipton, identified as “Sheriff/deputy/Officer.” [Doc. 1 at 2-3]. Plaintiff, who was a pre-trial detainee at the relevant times, purports to state claims for excessive force, police brutality, assault inflicting serious injury, unlawful behavior, defamation of character, and false imprisonment. [Id. at 3]. It appears, therefore, that Plaintiff is claiming that Defendants violated his constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by the use of excessive force.[1] Plaintiff's other claims, to the extent they are recognized causes of action at all, are State law claims.

         Plaintiff alleges, in pertinent part, as follows in support of his claims:

Officer Tankersly abused his authority as a bailiff and violently attacked, hit, struck me before body slamming me on my neck while in handcuffs threw me into the wall so hard causing the handcuffs to leave dents in the wall, grabbed me around the waist in a wrestler type move and slammed me on my neck upside down causing damager to my spine. Then ordered me to “put my hands behind my back” which was not possible because I was handcuffed to the front. I told him that I couldn't because I was handcuffed to the front… And thats when he grabbed my left ring finger, and pinky finger and bent them back until they both snapped. I screamed out in pain and thats when he “came to” from whatever trance he was in at the moment. Then he helped me to my feet and asked me what happened?? Its all on camera! I told him what happened, he explained to me that he “must've blacked out” and noticed the immediate swelling in my left hand. Showed it to him, he apologized to me over and over and called the nurse's station back at the jail and asked them to check out my neck and my hand.
The nurse seen how swolen my hand had become in that short period of time and asked my permission to do x-rays. I asked for xrays on my neck and spine, but was only given one on my hand, which showed that both of my fingers were in fact broken.

[Doc. 1 at 4, 7].

         For injuries, Plaintiff claims he suffered two fractured fingers, swelling, and “damage to [his] already fragile spinal cord, ” which makes “it hard to sleep, sit, stand, bend over, lift heavy objects, etc.” [Doc. 1 at 5, 7]. X-rays of Plaintiff's left hand and fingers were taken. [Id. at 9-10]. Although Plaintiff claims he suffered two fractures, the x-ray report attached to his Complaint simply describes the same fracture in two different places on the report. [See id.].

         For relief, Plaintiff seeks $7.7 million in damages. [Id.].


         The Court first addresses Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff's affidavit shows that he has had a total monthly income of $100.00 to $300.00 for the past twelve months, and that he expects to receive no income next month. [Doc. 2 at 1-2]. Plaintiff reports having no cash or funds in any financial institutions. [Id. at 2]. Plaintiff reports that he has three minor children who rely on him for financial support. [Id. at 3]. Plaintiff reports that he has total monthly expenses of $828.00. [Id. at 5]. Plaintiff states he cannot afford the cost of these proceedings because he is “struggling to provide” for his kids and is “always borrowing money just to survive.” [Id.]. The Court is satisfied that Plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the filing fee. The Court will, therefore, allow the motion and permit Plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis.


         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; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). 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 ...

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