Pittman v. Thurston, CIVIL 6:22-CV-06049

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Arkansas
Writing for the CourtHON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
PartiesROBERT EARL PITTMAN PLAINTIFF v. JOHN THURSTON Arkansas Secretary of State, DEXTER PAYNE Director, Arkansas Division of Correction, DR. THOMAS DANIELS WellPath, BERNARD WILLIAMS, MAJOR JIMMY COLEMAN, and MICHAEL THOMAS DEFENDANTS
Docket NumberCIVIL 6:22-CV-06049
Decision Date22 June 2022

ROBERT EARL PITTMAN PLAINTIFF
v.

JOHN THURSTON Arkansas Secretary of State, DEXTER PAYNE Director, Arkansas Division of Correction, DR. THOMAS DANIELS WellPath, BERNARD WILLIAMS, MAJOR JIMMY COLEMAN, and MICHAEL THOMAS DEFENDANTS

CIVIL No. 6:22-CV-06049

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

June 22, 2022


MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

This is a civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3), the Honorable Robert T. Dawson, Senior United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation.

The case is before the Court for preservice screening under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.[1] Under § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his Complaint on May 5, 2022. (ECF No. 1). He filed an Amended Complaint on May 13, 2022. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Division of Correction (“ADC”) Tucker Unit. (Id. at 1). For his First Claim, Plaintiff alleges that John Thurston, the Arkansas Secretary of State, was responsible for violating Plaintiff's

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constitutional rights on various dates in 2021. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff identifies these as: conditions of confinement, delegating unlawful volition, approving inept policies that are contrary to humane standards, jeopardy of life or limb & discrimination.” (Id. at 4). Plaintiff proceeds against Defendant Thurston in his official capacity. (Id. at 5).

For his Second Claim, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Dexter Payne, Jimmy Coleman, and Michael Thomas violated his constitutional rights on “01/3/21-04/13/21 & 06/25/2112/28/21,” while Plaintiff was housed in West Isolation, East Isolation, SNC, and restrictive housing. (Id. at 6). Plaintiff identifies Defendant Dexter Payne as the Director of the ADC, and Jimmy Coleman as a Major at the ADC. (Id. at 3). Plaintiff does not identify Michael Thomas' role at the ADC, but the Court will infer that he is an ADC employee. Plaintiff proceeds against these Defendants in both thier official and individual capacities. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff alleges:

I was compelled to sleep on concrete for 5 months, forced to walk to showers naked in front of aggressive inmates with female breasts on my body, my property was stolen, I was threatened to be rape, inmates spit in my food, I was refused integrity. Dexter Payne and Jimmy Coleman discriminated against my having breasts (transexual)
Dexter Payne has delegated volition that's inept by approving policies that's discriminatory & endanger inmates. Jimmy Coleman refused adequacy of protection Michael left my property in the hallway 5 days. My shoulder was dislocated over a year & I was given meds that didn't work. I was sexually harassed my entire stay at Malvern & threatened to get raped. My property was stolen and I have cavaties from being coerced to groom. I've endured deficiency of nutritions by not eating. I'm physically, emotionally, mentally broken & I feel defiled and disgusting with all these unwelcome sexual advances proposals for coition & to caress my breasts

(Id. at 6) (errors in original). For his official capacity portion of this claim, Plaintiff alleges the department was not run properly and safely, he was discriminated against, and his property should have been placed in safe-keeping. Plaintiff lists several numbers with the letters AR in front of

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them as apparent citations, but does not identify the citation source. (Id. at 7). He alleges these policies have been violated due to his transexual breasts. (Id. at 7).

For his Third Claim, Plaintiff appears to largely repeat his allegations in Claim Two, for the time period of January 3, 2021, through December 28, 2021. (Id. at 7). He brings this claim against Defendants Jimmy Coleman and Decter Payne in their official capacity. (Id. at 8).

For his Fourth Claim, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Thomas Daniels and Bernard Williams denied him medical care for his shoulder from August 17, 2021, through December 28, 2021. (Id. at 9). Plaintiff identifies Thomas Daniel as medical provider employed by WellPath. (Id. at 3). He does not identify Bernard Williams, but the Court will infer that he is also a WellPath employee. Plaintiff proceeds against these Defendants in their official capacity. (Id. at 9). Plaintiff appears to state that these Defendant violated policy by denying reasonably necessary care, and thus committed medical malpractice. (Id.).

Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 11). He also indicates he seeks “other” damages, but does not describe anything except monetary damages in his Complaint. (Id. at 11-12).

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under § 1915A, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

A claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action is malicious when the allegations are known to be false, or it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing or disparaging the named defendants rather than to vindicate a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 464 (E.D. N.C. 1987); In re Tyler,

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839 F.2d 1290, 1293-94 (8th Cir. 1988). A claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it does not allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

“In evaluating whether a pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a claim, we hold ‘a pro se complaint, however...

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