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Benbow v. Wall

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

March 11, 2014

AARON C. BENBOW, Plaintiff,
v.
A.T WALL, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MARY M. LISI, District Judge.

Before the Court is a civil rights Complaint With Jury Demand (Doc. No. 1) ("Complaint") filed by Plaintiff Aaron C. Benbow, proceeding pro se, an inmate at the Adult Correctional Institutions ("ACI"), Cranston, Rhode Island, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and related statutes. Plaintiff has also filed an Application to Proceed without Prepayment of Fees and Affidavit (Doc. No. 2) ("Application") and a Motion for the Appointment of Counsel (Doc. #3) ("Motion for Counsel"). The Court is required to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1916A.

OVERVIEW

The Complaint names as Defendants A.T. Wall, Director of the ACI, James Weeden, Warden of the High Security Center ("HSC"), Alfred P. Leach, Deputy Warden at the HSC, Richard McCloskey, a nurse at the HSC, and a number of HSC correctional officers. Defendants Wall Weeden, Leach, and McCloskey are sued in their official and individual capacities, while the correctional officers are sued in their individual capacities only.

In brief, Plaintiff alleges that he has been subject to harassment, excessive force, and denial of medical care, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment, and confinement in segregation, in violation of his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Invoking the Court's supplemental jurisdiction, he also alleges the state law torts of assault and battery and negligence. He seeks injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

DISCUSSION

I. Complaint

A. Screening under § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A

In connection with proceedings in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) directs a court to dismiss a case at any time if the court determines that the action, inter alia, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).[1] Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to screen complaints filed by prisoners against a governmental entity, officer, or employee of such entity and dismiss the complaint, or any portion thereof, for reasons identical to those set forth in § 1915(e)(2). See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.[2]

The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A is identical to that used when ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See Fridman v. City of New York , 195 F.Supp.2d 534, 538 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); see also Pelumi v. Landry, No. CA 08-107 ML , 2008 WL 2660968, at *2 (D.R.I. June 30, 2008). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In making this determination, the Court must accept Plaintiff's well-pled allegations as true and construe them in the light most favorable to him. See Rogan v. Menino , 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st Cir. 1999). Although the Court must view the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally, Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97 (1976), the Court need not credit bald assertions or unsupported conclusions, Iqbal, 566 U.S. at 678; Rogan , 175 F.3d at 77.

B. Legal Standard under § 1983

Section 1983 requires three elements for liability: deprivation of a constitutional or federal statutory right, a causal connection between the actor and the deprivation, and state action. Sanchez v. Pereira-Castillo , 590 F.3d 31, 41 (1st Cir. 2009)(citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Here, assuming that Defendants were acting under color of state law, Plaintiff's claims are reviewed to determine if they allege facts indicating that Defendants deprived him of a constitutional or federal statutory right.[3]

C. Screening

Having reviewed the Complaint and the exhibits attached thereto, the Court finds that Plaintiff's factual allegations are sufficient to pass this initial hurdle. He ...


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