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Brown v. Martin

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

March 30, 2015

KEVIN BROWN ADC #133891, Plaintiff,
v.
JOEY MARTIN, et al., Defendants.

PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS INSTRUCTIONS

JEROME T. KEARNEY, Magistrate Judge.

The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Judge D. P. Marshall, Jr. Any party may serve and file written objections to this recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify that finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and recommendations. The copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact.

If you are objecting to the recommendation and also desire to submit new, different, or additional evidence, and to have a hearing for this purpose before the District Judge, you must, at the same time that you file your written objections, include the following:

1. Why the record made before the Magistrate Judge is inadequate.

2. Why the evidence proffered at the hearing before the District Judge (if such a hearing is granted) was not offered at the hearing before the Magistrate Judge.

3. The detail of any testimony desired to be introduced at the hearing before the District Judge in the form of an offer of proof, and a copy, or the original, of any documentary or other non-testimonial evidence desired to be introduced at the hearing before the District Judge.

From this submission, the District Judge will determine the necessity for an additional evidentiary hearing, either before the Magistrate Judge or before the District Judge.

Mail your objections and "Statement of Necessity" to:

DISPOSITION

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Kevin Brown is an inmate confined at the Poinsett County Detention Center (Jail), who filed this pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, claiming he has been punished more severely than other inmates (Doc. No. 2). By Order dated February 18, 2015, this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis in this lawsuit, and provided him the opportunity to file an Amended Complaint within thirty days, noting that his allegation of discrimination was too vague for the Court to determine if he stated a claim upon which relief may be granted (Doc. No. 4). The Court also noted that Plaintiff did not include any allegations against Defendant Larry Mills, and provided Plaintiff with specific directions on what information he should include in an Amended Complaint. ( Id., p. 3). As of this date, however, Plaintiff has not filed an Amended Complaint.

Having reviewed Plaintiff's Original Complaint, the Court finds it should be dismissed, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

II. Screening

The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires federal courts to screen prisoner complaints seeking relief against a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that: (a) are legally frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

An action is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Whether a plaintiff is represented by counsel or is appearing pro se, his complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state a claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir.1985). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).

Additionally, to survive a court's 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1) screening, 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), citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-7. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement, " but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id.

III. Facts and Analysis

Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint that he was punished differently from another inmate, and that he was placed on lock-down in the Jail for a longer period of time than that inmate. In order to support a claim for relief against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff must allege that a person acting under the color of state law deprived him of some Constitutional right. Griffin-El v. MCI Telecommunications Corp., et al., 835 F.Supp. 1114, 1118 (E.D.MO 1993). The Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause requires the government "to treat similarly situated people alike." City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc., 473 U.S. 432, 439 (1985). Yet, "[d]issimilar treatment of dissimilarly situated persons does not violate equal protection." Klinger v. Department of Corrections, 31 F.3d 727, 731 (8th Cir. 1994). In this particular case, although Plaintiff complains that he served a longer lock-down sentence than another inmate who committed the same type of disciplinary violation, he does not allege sufficient facts for this Court to find that both inmates were similarly situated in terms of their rule violations, their behavior, and their punishment. Therefore, absent additional facts or allegations, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

IV. Conclusion

IT IS, THEREFORE, RECOMMENDED that:

1. Plaintiff's Complaint against Defendants be DISMISSED, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

2. Dismissal of this action constitute a "strike" within the meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).[1]

3. The Court certify that an in forma pauperis appeal from an Order and Judgment dismissing this action would not be taken in good faith, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).

IT IS SO RECOMMENDED.


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