United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Abilene Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SCOTT FROST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff sues two prison officials
or employees of the French M. Robertson Unit of the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice for failing to in violation of
the Americans with Disability Act ("ADA"); the
Rehabilitation Act ("RA"); and the Eighth Amendment
of the United States Constitution. See Compl. (doc.
1) at 4. The Court has granted Plaintiff permission to
proceed with this case in forma pauperis. See PLRA
Filing Fee Order (doc. 5). On May 1, 2018, the District Judge
referred the case to the undersigned. See Order
(doc. 7). Plaintiff thereafter consented to have a United
States Magistrate Judge conduct any and all further
proceedings in this case, including entry of a final
judgment, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
See Consent to Proceed Before a United States
Magistrate Judge (doc. 9).
August 2018, the Court sent Plaintiff a Magistrate
Judge's Questionnaire ("MJQ") to flesh out the
factual and legal bases for his claims. See MJQ
(doc. 10). Plaintiff timely responded to the MJQ.
See Answers to MJQ (doc. 11). After considering
Plaintiffs complaint, the MJQ answers, other relevant
filings, and the applicable law, the Court issues this
Memorandum Opinion and Order finding that Plaintiff has
stated no claim that survives summary dismissal and thus
dismisses this action in its entirety.
21, 2017, Plaintiff "was transferred from a psychiatric
inpatient program at the William P. Clements Unit in
Amarillo, Texas, called Chronic Mentally 111 (CMI) to general
population [("GP")] as a custody level (G2),
trustee level (Time Earning Level) S3 offender." Compl.
at 5. Plaintiff alleges that he has "been diagnosed with
schizoaffective disorder," which "is a combination
of acute psychosis and bi-polar disorder that requires"
medication every day. Id. Due to alleged treatment
prior to his transfer that are not at issue in this
litigation, Plaintiff arrived at the Robertson Unit on July
21, 2017, "apprehensive, angry, and frustrated,"
but "also relieved that that nightmare was over."
Id. at 6. Plaintiff was assigned janitorial duties
for the night shift. See id.
August 1, 2017, after constant yelling with occasional vulgar
language by an officer on night shift, Plaintiff "lost
[his] cool" and vented his anger and frustrations
towards the officer resulting in an incident report for
threatening an officer. Id. Through the prison
grievance process, Plaintiff sought to excuse his outburst by
stating that (1) he "forgot to take [his] psych meds the
morning prior to 8/1/17," (2) he "was still trying
to get used to being back in GP from being in psychiatric
ad-seg in the Chronically Mentally 111 program," and (3)
on the evening of July 31, 2017, "no cold water was
provided for the Janitors." See Step 1 Offender
Grievance Form, attached as Doc. 2 to Compl.
commenced this civil action in April 2018. See
Compl. The Court severed all claims from this action except
for claims against Defendants Scott Appleton and Jessie
Singh. See Order (doc. 6). He asserts claims under
the ADA, RA, and the Eighth Amendment under the same set of
facts. See Compl. at 4; Answers 2 and 3. His sole
claim in this action is that he was placed "into a
minimum custody general population environment without
providing [him] with any type of transitional psychiatric
treatment, counseling, or program." See Compl.
at 5. He claims that, had he "received such treatment
[or] counseling, it is quite likely that [he] would have
handled the situation" with the night shift officer
"in a more progressive manner." Id. He
also briefly mentions that defendants "were required to
counsel [him] prior to the disciplinary case being allowed to
go to hearing and could have justified that it should be
dismissed," but they failed to do so. Id.
respect to the acts and omissions of the two named
defendants, Plaintiff alleges that Mental Health Counselor
Scott Appleton "failed to provide adequate psychological
counseling when [Plaintiff] arrived from the CMI program at
the Clements Unit in the form of transition counseling to
help [Plaintiff] retrain [his] mind from living in an
administrative segregation environment into a general
population environment." Answer 5. He sues Psychiatrist
Jessie Singh because he "is the person responsible for
proper dispensation of psychiatric medications" and had
he examined Plaintiff "right away" when Plaintiff
arrived at the Robertson Unit, "he may have wanted to
adjust my medication in order to calm [Plaintiff] down from a
very apprehensive mental state." Answer 6. Plaintiff
further states that Singh "may have also discovered that
I was suicidal and treated [Plaintiff] for it," but he
"failed to do so thereby putting [Plaintiffs] life in
jeopardy." See id.
asked to describe the physical injury, if any, that he
sustained as a result of the alleged conduct of defendants,
Plaintiff states that he "only seeks punitive damages
for the lack of adequate psychological counseling and failure
to communicate with the CMI team at the Clements Unit."
Answer 4. He states that his "injury is emotional and
adverse to [his] diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder."
See Id. In his complaint, Plaintiff seeks to recover
costs, "possible attorney fees," and an unspecified
award for damages, while also wanting the Court to erase or
reverse his disciplinary case #20170356150. Compl. at 5.
However, contemporaneously with this Memorandum Opinion and
Order, the Court has granted Plaintiffs requested amendment
that his requested relief be limited to nominal and punitive
damages. See PL's Mot. Leave Am. Compl. (doc.
these facts and background information, the Court now
conducts the preliminary screening of this action as
contemplated by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
proceeds with this case in forma pauperis.
Therefore, this action is subject to sua sponte
dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In addition
because he is a prisoner seeking redress from governmental
entity or an officer or employee of such an entity, his
complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A regardless of whether he proceeds in
forma pauperis. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578,
579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Both statutes provide
for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any
portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or
malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b).
Court may find a claim frivolous when it "lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an
arguable basis in law, furthermore, when it is "based on
an indisputably meritless legal theory." Id. at
327. A claim lacks an arguable basis in fact, when it
describes "fantastic or delusional scenarios."
Id. at 327-28. A complaint fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, on the other hand, when it
fails to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." BellAtl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a
"probability requirement," but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are
"merely consistent with" a defendant's
liability, it "stops short of ...