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McDaughtery v. Timmons

February 23, 2006

LESESTER DUVA MCDAUGHTERY, INMATE #88831-012, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER TIMMONS, THE BUREAU OF PRISONS, AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Plaintiff also brings this action pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §1346, 2671-2680. Plaintiff previously was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered his initial partial filing fee as ordered.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that none of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

Factual Allegations

The complaint and supporting exhibits show that on June 2, 2002, Plaintiff was extracted from his cell and put in administrative detention. Plaintiff states that during this move he was sprayed with pepper spray and shot with one or more pellets from an anti-riot gun. The alleged "assault and battery" caused him injuries. Plaintiff states that the defendants owed him a "duty of care." Plaintiff also states that the defendants engaged in a "bad-jacketing" campaign against him, in which they were attempting to turn other inmates against him. On the face of the complaint, Plaintiff indicates that he is bringing the action under both civil rights law and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA").

Legal Standards

Plaintiff's allegations state a claim of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The intentional use of excessive force by prison guards against an inmate without penological justification constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and is actionable under Section 1983. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 6-7 (1992); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 619 (7th Cir. 2000). "[W]henever prison officials stand accused of using excessive physical force in violation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, the core judicial inquiry is . . . whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm." Hudson, 503 U.S. at 6-7. An inmate seeking damages for the use of excessive force need not establish serious bodily injury to make a claim, but not "every malevolent touch by a prison guard gives rise to a federal cause of action. . . . [the] prohibition of 'cruel and unusual' punishment necessarily excludes from constitutional recognition de minimis uses of physical force, provided that the use of force is not of a sort 'repugnant to the conscience of mankind.'" Id. at 9-10; see also Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837-38 (7th Cir. 2001). Based on these standards and Plaintiff's allegations, Plaintiff has stated and shall be allowed to proceed on the claim of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

As to Plaintiff's claim under the FTCA, An action shall not be instituted upon a claim against the United States for money damages for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, unless the claimant shall have first presented the claim to the appropriate Federal agency and his claim shall have been finally denied by the agency in writing and sent by certified or registered mail. The failure of an agency to make final disposition of a claim within six months after it is filed shall, at the option of the claimant any time thereafter, be deemed a final denial of the claim for purposes of this section.

28 U.S.C. ยง 2675(a). Plaintiff has filed with his complaint a Bureau of Prisons letter indicating that administrative review had been completed. As such, Plaintiff has stated a claim ...


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