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Payette v. Briggs

March 1, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Robert Holmes Bell


This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, PUB. L. NO. 104-134, 110 STAT. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendant, and will serve the complaint against Defendant with regard to Plaintiff's First Amendment claims.


I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff Michael Walter Payette, a prisoner at the Alger Maximum Correctional Facility (LMF), filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 pro se complaint against Defendant Corrections Officer Unknown Briggs. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on April 7, 2008, Defendant Briggs put grievances into Plaintiff's cell, referring to them as "petty-ass-bullshit grievances." Plaintiff asked if he had any outside mail, and Defendant responded "no." However, Plaintiff noted that Defendant was carrying a letter addressed to Plaintiff. Plaintiff then asked for his letter and Defendant refused, stating that Plaintiff could not have his letter because he filed so many grievances. As Defendant walked away from the cell, he yelled that Plaintiff was his "girl." Defendant also stated:

You ain't nothing but a fuck boy. You file all these meaningless grievances and shit. You're a piece of shit convict who I have to pay taxes for. I bet I know why you're in prison! It has something to do with diapers doesn't it? I'm the one buying all of your food you stupid fuck! Your [sic] a white man trying to perpetrate [sic] a black man.

Plaintiff again asked for his letter and Defendant told him to file a grievance. Plaintiff claims that the mail contained legal documents. An unknown sergeant later came to Plaintiff's cell and threatened him with a ticket. When Plaintiff told him that Defendant was the problem, the sergeant stated that he didn't care and left. Plaintiff states that later that day, Defendant challenged him to a physical fight while Plaintiff was at chow.

On July 29, 2008, Plaintiff attempted to ask Defendant to stop harassing him. Defendant responded, "Fuck you, go lock up! Grieve it bitch." Defendant later walked by Plaintiff's cell and called Plaintiff his "girl" and his "slut." When Defendant let Plaintiff out for chow, he threatened to "fuck" with Plaintiff for filing grievances on him. Defendant later called Plaintiff his "sexy bitch" and told him to shake his "ass."

On July 30, 2008, Plaintiff attempted to resolve the issue with Defendant, but Defendant merely stated, "Eat my cum." Plaintiff later told Defendant that he was filing a lawsuit against him for sexual harassment, and Defendant stated, "That's okay, I am still going to fuck you." Defendant again referred to Plaintiff as "she" and a "fuck boy," and stated:

You're gonna eat me up one day, you wait and see. You're gonna be my cum guzzler. Put that in your next grievance!

Plaintiff states that Defendant's inappropriate comments continued the next day.

Plaintiff claims that Defendant violated his rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as declaratory relief.

II. Failure to State a Claim

A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if "'it fails to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."). The court must determine whether the complaint contains "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." 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." Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a "'probability requirement,' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]' -- that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2)). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was ...

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