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Mott v. Oputa

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division

November 19, 2019

AUSTIN MOTT, JR., TDCJ # 01119500, Plaintiff,
OYINKURO H. OPUTA, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Austin Mott, Jr., an inmate at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice- Correctional Institutions Division (“TDCJ”), proceeds pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff filed this civil-rights action alleging that Defendant Oyinkuro H. Oputa assaulted him on January 19, 2018. He also alleges that other TDCJ officials violated his rights when they failed to respond properly after the incident. Plaintiff has submitted a more definite statement (Dkt. 11) as ordered by the Court.

         The Court is required to scrutinize every complaint filed by a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis and must dismiss the case at any time, in whole or in part, if it determines that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Having reviewed the pleadings, the more definite statement, the applicable law, and all matters of record, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's claims must be DISMISSED for the reasons that follow.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that Oputa, a correctional officer, used force against him at the Terrell Unit on January 19, 2018. In particular, he states that Oputa “assaulted [him] from behind” by “physical[ly] forcing her arms around [his] wa[is]t” and by “pull[ing] [him] hard into her front side” (Dkt. 1, at 4).

         In his more definite statement, Mott explains that he had an ongoing dispute with another inmate who urinated on himself and “fanned” the urine towards Mott (Dkt. 11, at 2-3). He has supplied a hand-drawn map of the dormitory, marking the location of his bunk and the other inmate's bunk (id. at 22 (Exhibit 1)). Mott states that in the summer of 2017, after the inmate refused to stop, he submitted an I-60 request to classification officials seeking another bunk assignment, but did not get a response. In November 2017, he submitted a Step 1 grievance but did not get a response. He states that he also made verbal requests for assistance to multiple officials, including one to Oputa on the day of the incident, but that the situation was not addressed. See id. at 3 (stating that he asked Oputa to “please come try and ta[lk] to this offender about this urinating situation” but that she refused).

         On January 19, 2018, Mott states that he left his bunk in order to remove the other inmate's fan from where it was hanging (id.). At that point, Oputa approached him from behind to prevent him from removing the fan:

I made the round to remove the offender's fan off the wall where he had it hanging fan[n]ing his urinating smell at me. Mrs. Oputa ran up behind me and forcing her arms around me to stop me from removing the fan off the wall.

(id. at 4). Mott claims that, right after Oputa pulled on him, his back “popped”:

Remember, [I have] a physical handicap in my left leg. I w[ear]a brace from hip to foot. And I have to w[ear] a back brace because my back go[es] out on me. And I had to use a cane to walk with. Immediately after Oputa pulled on me my lower back pop[p]ed and I stop[p]ed walking and approximate[ly] 2 minutes later I was in cuff[s] by Sgt. R. Diaz and tak[en] to segregation where I was refused medical treatment for lower back pains.

Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). He states that he did not fall during the incident because Oputa had her arms around his waist (id. at 5). In response to the Court's question about what caused Oputa to stop pulling on him, Mott stated, “When I told her to let me go because you['re] assaulting me” (id.). Oputa then let him go and he was cuffed and taken to lockup. Mott alleges that Oputa intentionally violated TDCJ rules that prevent an employee coming within three feet of an inmate (id. at 5-6).

         In response to the Court's questions about injuries, Mott states that, because of the incident, he is “always in pain” and uses a walker:

My lower back is always in pain . . . and I'm having to use a walker to walk w[ith], and I stay having bad muscle cramps in my lower back and right leg. When Mrs. Oputa pulled on me my lower back pop[p]ed.

(id. at 5). He states that he has received treatment for pain in his lower back and right leg since March 2018 and that, although he was not hospitalized, he is now confined to a cell bed and takes multiple medications “as a result of the assault” (id. at 6-7). He ...

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