United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
VINCENT E. THOMAS, Plaintiff
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
having conducted the preliminary screening contemplated by 28
U.S.C. § l9l5A(a), the court has concluded that pursuant
to the directives of §1915A(b), certain of the claims
asserted in the above-captioned action should be dismissed,
but that the claims against United States of America should
be allowed to proceed.
of the Action and Identities of Defendants
Vincent E. Thomas, an inmate of FCI Fort Worth, a facility of
the United States Bureau of Prisons, filed this action on
March 20, 2017, complaining that because of "the
Defendants [sic] failure to exercise the ordinary care
required, and failure to address the Plaintiff's serious,
life threatening, extremely painful, emergent medical needs
[he] now suffers from life long, permanent disability."
Doc. 1 at 10. He sought and received in forma
pauperis status for the filing of the action.
alleged that he suffered a stroke in January 2014 that could
have been avoided if he had been given proper care and
treatment at his place of confinement (FCI Fort Worth), and
that such conduct of defendants constituted a violation of
his constitutional rights and negligence, and caused him to
suffer physical pain and mental anguish, in the past and
future, disfigurement, in the past and future, physical
impairment, in the past and future, permanent disability, in
the past and future, medical expenses in the future, loss of
future wages, and loss of bodily function. Id. at
11-12. Plaintiff also alleged that after he suffered a stroke
in January 2014, and was returned "to the facility,
" he had trouble trying to obtain treatment for the
injuries caused by the stroke. Id. at 9-10.
sued each defendant other than the United States of America
in the defendant's official and individual capacities.
His claims against United States of America appear to be
based on the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2671,
et,, seq., ; id., at 1-2, 11, and, his claims against the
other defendants in their individual capacities were brought
pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403
U.S. 388 (1971). Id. at 1, 10-11. Plaintiff
alleged that defendants violated his Eighth Amendment
constitutional rights by being deliberately indifferent to
his serious, life threatening, emergent medical needs.
Id. at 10.
defendants named in the complaint are:
1. United States of America;
2. Rodney Chandler ("Chandler"), who is identified
as the Warden of FCI Fort Worth;
3. Todd Williamson ("Williamson"), who is
identified as the Health Services Administrator, FCI Fort
4. Fateh Hyder ("Hyder"), Clinical Director, FCI
5. Butch Tubera ("Tubera"), Doctor, FCI Fort Worth;
6. A. Baruti ("Baruti"), Doctor, FCI Fort Worth;
7. Nurse Sayarath ("Sayarath"), FCI Fort Worth;
8. Nurse Barkman ("Barkman"), FCI Fort Worth; and
9. Correctional Officer Ramon ("Ramon"), FCI Fort
Court's Obligations Under § 1915A
1915A(a) and (b) provide as follows:
(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 upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) & (b).
the court is obligated at this time to review plaintiff's
complaint against the government and officers and employees
of the government to identify cognizable claims and dismiss
the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if it or any
part of it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. The basic
principles to be considered in determining whether the court
should dismiss a claim for one of those statutory reasons are
is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). The "term 'frivolous, ' when
applied to a complaint, embraces not only the inarguable
legal conclusion, but also the fanciful factual
evaluating the frivolousness issue, the court is to bear in
mind that the § 1915 review provisions for possible
sua sponte dismissal are "designed largely to
discourage the filing of, and waste of judicial and private
resources upon, baseless lawsuits that paying litigants
generally do not initiate because of the costs of bringing
suit and because of the threat of sanctions for bringing
vexatious suits . . . ." Id., at 327. To that
end, the statute "accords judges . . . the unusual power
to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations
and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are
clearly baseless." Id.; see also Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992) .
respect to a district court"s evaluation as to whether
facts alleged are "clearly baseless, " the Supreme
Court in Denton, in response to a request that it
define the "clearly baseless" guidepost with more
precision, said "we are confident that the district
courts, who are 'all too familiar' with factually
frivolous claims, are in the best position to determine which
cases fall into this category, " and thus declined
"the invitation to reduce the 'clearly baseless'
inquiry to a monolithic standard." Denton, 506
U.S. at 33 (citation omitted).
Neitzke and Denton decisions both dealt with a
version of 2 8 U.S.C. § 1915 that contained in its
subsection (d) an authorization for the district court to
dismiss a claim filed in forma pauperis "if
satisfied that the action is frivolous."
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 324; Denton, 504 U.S.
at 27. While the current version of § 1915 still
mandates in its subsection (e) (2) (B) (i) dismissal of an
in, .forma pauperis complaint if it is frivolous,
the court's focus here is the part of the Prisoner
Litigation Reform Act codified as 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
which directs the court to review "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" (28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a)), and, on review, to "dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint
is frivolous, " 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
court has no reason to think that the Supreme Court or the
Fifth Circuit would give to the "frivolous"
dismissal provision of § 1915A a narrower meaning than
that given to the similar dismissal provision in § 1915.
In its unpublished opinion in Widner v. Aguilar, 398
F.App'x 976, 978-79 (5th Cir. 2010), the Fifth Circuit
equated the two. The legislative history of § 1915A
suggests that the courts could well have even broader
discretion in the frivolousness evaluations in litigation
filed by prisoners against the government or prison employees
Ballentine v. Crawford, 563 F.Supp. 627, 628-29
(N.D. Ind. 1983), the court held that "a complaint
plainly abusive of the judicial process is properly typed
'malicious' within the context of Section 1915(d)
which authorizes immediate dismissal of the same." A
suit brought for the purpose of harassing the defendants is
brought maliciously. Daves v. Scranton, 66 F.R.D. 5,
8 (E.D. Pa. 1975).