United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS CERTAIN
CLAIMS AND TO RETAIN CASE
B. Libby United States Magistrate Judge.
Lawrence Woodson Short is a Texas inmate appearing pro
se and in forma pauperis. He filed this
prisoner civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff's case is subject to screening pursuant
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act. See 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §§1915(e)(2), 1915A. For
purposes of screening, Plaintiff has stated claims of
excessive force against Officer Martinez and Officer
Benavides in their individual capacities.
Accordingly, it is respectfully recommended that these claims
against Officer Martinez and Officer
Benavides be RETAINED. The
undersigned will order service on these defendants.
undersigned further recommends that Plaintiff's claims
against all Defendants in their official capacities be
DISMISSED. Lastly, the undersigned
recommends that Plaintiff's claims against the remaining
defendants be DISMISSED with prejudice for
failure to state a claim and/or as frivolous pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)(1) for the
reasons set forth below.
Court has federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. This case has been referred to the undersigned
magistrate judge for case management and making
recommendations on dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND AND PLAINTIFF'S
is a prisoner in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Criminal Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID) and is currently
housed at the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, Texas.
Plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit occurred in connection
with his previous confinement at the Nueces County Jail.
February 25, 2019, Plaintiff filed his original complaint
against the following Nueces County officials: (1) Jim Kalen,
Nueces County Sheriff; (2) Mike McKenzie, Nueces County Chief
Jailer; (3) Officer Martinez; (4) Officer Benavides; and (5)
Sergeant Martinez. Plaintiff primarily alleges that he was
subjected to the excessive use of force by officers at the
Nueces County Jail. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief.
Spears hearing was conducted on March 29, 2019.
The following representations were made either at the
Spears hearing or in Plaintiff's original
complaint (D.E. 1): Plaintiff is 43 years old. He is
5'11” and weighs 206 pounds. Plaintiff was taken
into custody at the Nueces County Jail on December 26, 2017
on the charge of evading arrest with a motor vehicle. He was
subsequently convicted of this charge and sentenced on March
12, 2018 to five years in prison.
about June 3, 2018, Plaintiff was seen at the jail's
medical department with regard to cardiac issues. Plaintiff
alleges that after he returned to his cell, Officer Martinez
acted aggressively toward Plaintiff without provocation by
grabbing Plaintiff's arm. Plaintiff questioned Officer
Martinez about this aggressive action. According to
Plaintiff, Officer Martinez responded by body slamming
Plaintiff to the floor and placing both his knees in
Plaintiff's back. Plaintiff further alleges Officer
Benavides arrived at the scene and also placed his knees in
Plaintiff's back. The use of force by these officers
caused Plaintiff to suffer two broken ribs.
Martinez witnessed the incident, stopped the use of
force, and brought Plaintiff immediately to the medical
department. The nurse on duty took Plaintiff's blood
pressure and reported it was low. However, the nurse informed
Plaintiff that the medical department was too busy to further
examine or treat Plaintiff. Sergeant Martinez placed
Plaintiff in a holding cell, where Plaintiff communicated to
him that he was in pain. Plaintiff alleges Sergeant Martinez
could not do anything for Plaintiff because Sergeant Martinez
was not assigned to the medical department.
was transferred into TDCJ custody the day after the incident,
on June 4, 2018. Plaintiff spent about a month at the Garza
West Unit in Beeville, Texas. On June 20, 2018, while housed
at the Garza West Unit, Plaintiff's rib injuries were
examined. Plaintiff has attached a medical report to his
complaint, dated June 20, 2018, showing fractures in two
ribs. (D.E. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff testified he was not involved
in other altercations and did not suffer any other injury
between June 3, 2018 and June 20, 2018. Thus, Plaintiff
alleges Officers Martinez and Benavides caused Plaintiff to
suffer two broken ribs when they assaulted him on June 3,
2018. Even though Plaintiff waited a couple of weeks to be
seen at the Garza West Unit, he clarified that he does not
seek to sue any TDCJ official with respect to his medical
sues Sheriff Kalen and Chief Jailer McKenzie as having
supervisory responsibility over Officers Martinez and
Benavides. Plaintiff believes these defendants are
responsible for the conduct of their subordinate officers.