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Hoffman v. Richardson

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

December 20, 2019

FRED HOFFMAN, III, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFERY RICHARDSON, et al, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Hilda Tagle Senior United States District Judge

         The Court is in receipt of Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby's Memorandum and Recommendation (“M&R”) to Dismiss Certain Claims and to Retain Case, Dkt. No. 10. The Court is also in receipt of Plaintiff Fred Hoffman III's (“Hoffman”) Objections and Memorandum in Response, Dkt. No. 16.

         Hoffman is imprisoned in the state of Texas and is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Dkt. Nos. 1, 2, 8. He filed this prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. In his complaint Hoffman named Assistant Warden Corey Furr (“Furr”), Correctional Officer Felix Anazor, Correctional Officer Vichente Martinez, Sergeant Doroteo Fonseca and Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Director Lorie Davis. Dkt. No. 1. Hoffman claims the Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious seizure condition with strobe flashlights and by causing him sleep deprivation, he additionally alleges he was subject to retaliation. Dkt. No. 1. Hoffman seeks declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the use of strobe flashlights by TDCJ staff. Id. Hoffman also seeks to represent other similarly situated inmates. Id.

         The Magistrate Judge issued his M&R on December 13, 2018 as a frivolousness screening pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). After extensive review of the complaint and statement of the relevant legal standards, the Magistrate Judge recommends retaining deliberate indifference claims against Furr in his official capacity for injunctive relief. Dkt. No. 10 at 1. The Magistrate Judge further recommends that Plaintiff's request to proceed as a class action be denied and that Plaintiff's remaining claims against all Defendants be dismissed. Dkt. No. 10 at 1.

         Hoffman objects to the recommendation primarily on three grounds: 1) other Defendants are necessary to the litigation and should not be dismissed; 2) it is improper to dismiss his retaliation claim; 3) Plaintiff's request to proceed as class action is valid because other inmates plan on joining the litigation.

         I. Appropriate Defendants

         Regarding appropriate defendants the Magistrate Judge writes:

Given the size of the TDCJ, it is more likely that each individual unit has day-today control over its operating policies. Plaintiff's allegations indicate that Director Davis already has directed McConnell Unit officials on the use of strobe-capable flashlights but that her directive is being ignored at the prison level. Therefore, for purposes of obtaining injunctive relief, Assistant Warden Furr is the individual most likely able to fashion the relief Plaintiff is seeking regarding the use of flashlights should he prevail on his claims. Because Assistant Warden Furr appears to be best person to implement the injunctive relief requested, the undersigned respectfully recommends that he remain in this case and that the other individual defendants be dismissed as to this claim.

Dkt. No. 10 at 11.

         The Magistrate Judge also notes:

“Should facts come to light as this case proceeds that another prison official at the McConnell Unit is the best person to implement Plaintiff's requested injunctive relief, the undersigned will substitute that person in place of Assistant Warden Furr.”

Dkt. No. 10 at 11 n 2.

         Hoffman's objections to dismissing other parties who allegedly cause him harm are understandable but not necessary. See Dkt. No. 16. A party's officers, agents, servants and employees are bound by the terms of an injunctive order. See FDIC v. Faulkner, 991 F.2d 262, 267 (5th Cir. 1993); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Stock Buyers Int'l, Inc., 760 F.2d 698, 700 (6th Cir. 1985). The equitable powers of trial courts are broad and flexible and can be shaped to the necessities of a particular case. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 411 U.S. 192, 200 (1973). As the Magistrate Judge has already indicated, if an injunction is found to be warranted, the best person to effect that injunction can be substituted in place of Furr. See Dkt. No. 10 at 11 n 2.

         The Court overrules Hoffman's objections regarding the defendants and ADOPTS the M&R's recommendation to ...


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