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McGathey v. Osinga

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

June 6, 2017

TODD W. MCGATHEY, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff, an inmate at the Charlotte County Jail in Punta Gorda, Florida, initiated this action on January 27, 2017 by filing a pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Joseph Osinga, Christina Casteel, Bobby Beverly, David Dunn, Kyle Nasby, William Prummell, and Howard Nusum (Doc. 1). After conducting a review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court concluded that Plaintiff had not stated a claim against any named defendant and that he sought monetary damages for mental distress (Doc. 13). However, in an abundance of caution, Plaintiff was given leave to file an amended complaint seeking only nominal damages. Id.

         Plaintiff filed an amended complaint (Doc. 14) and a second amended complaint against Defendant Osinga (Doc. 17). Plaintiff's second amended complaint is the operative complaint before this Court. In his second amended complaint, Plaintiff does not explain the events giving rise to his claims. Instead, he directs this Court to a report entitled “Internal Affairs Internal Investigation I.A. 17-1 Corrections Deputy Joseph Osinga” (incident report) (Doc. 17-1). Upon review of Plaintiff's second amended complaint and the report, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's federal claims must be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any state-law claim.

         I. Complaint

         Because Plaintiff does not describe Defendant Osinga's allegedly unconstitutional activities in his second amended complaint, the Court may rely on the 22-page incident report attached to the complaint. See Hoefling v. City of Miami, 811 F.3d 1271, 1277 (11th Cir. 2016) (“A district court can generally consider exhibits attached to a complaint in ruling on a motion to dismiss, and if the allegations of the complaint about a particular exhibit conflict with the contents of the exhibit itself, the exhibit controls.”)(citing Crenshaw v. Lister, 556 F.3d 1283, 1292 (11th Cir. 2009)).

         The incident report summarizes an investigation of an incident that occurred on December 13, 2016. On that date, Plaintiff was pulled from his cell for a professional visit. As Plaintiff was leaving his cell, Defendant Osinga conducted a search of Plaintiff's legal materials and found a stack of about thirty grievance forms. Defendant Osinga confiscated all but one form, and told Plaintiff that the forms would be handed out as needed (Doc. 17-1 at 4). Defendant Osinga became suspicious that Plaintiff may have other contraband in his cell and initiated a search of the cell. Id. at 5. During the search, Defendant Osinga un-knotted Plaintiff's sheets, and emptied the contents of three paper bags of commissary items and paperwork on Plaintiff's bunk. Id. Defendant Osinga confiscated several contraband items from the cell and disposed of these items and of empty commissary bags. Id. He then rearranged the playing cards on Plaintiff's bunk into a “666” before he exited the cell. Id. Defendant Osinga did not straighten up Plaintiff's cell after the search. When Plaintiff reported this incident, he complained about the rearrangement of his playing cards and also alleged that his sweater was “sopping wet” when he returned from his professional visit and that a satanic star had been drawn on his cell wall while he was gone. Id. at 9. When he was interviewed about the incident, Defendant Osinga admitted that he rearranged the playing cards as a joke and left Plaintiff's cell in disarray after searching it, but denied touching Plaintiff's sweater or drawing anything on the cell wall. Id. at 17-19.

         At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator determined that a preponderance of the evidence indicated that Defendant Osinga violated Charlotte County Sheriff's Office policy when he rearranged Plaintiff's playing cards and left Plaintiff's cell in unreasonable order after searching for contraband (Doc. 17-1 at 20-21).

         Plaintiff's only statement in the second amended complaint regarding Defendant Osinga's allegedly unconstitutional actions is the following:

[Th]he defendant knew about my mental and about my fear of demons, my information w/ clergy the [psychosis] it puts me in [and] purposefully targeted me.

         (Doc. 17 at 4). Under the “injuries” section of his complaint, Plaintiff asserts that because of Defendant Osinga's actions, he (Plaintiff) stopped taking his psychiatric medication and “the withdrawals were horrendous. The demonic spirits overtook me again. I was truly fearful for my life.” Id. at 17. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Osinga violated his freedom of speech, freedom of religion, committed a hate crime, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, committed intentional infliction of emotional distress, demonstrate malfeasance by a jailor, and made a “threat by intimidation” under Florida law.

         Plaintiff seeks $87.00 in compensation for canteen purchases and $100, 000 for “physical and mental pain and suffering.” Id.

         II. Legal Standards

         A federal district court is required to review a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis and dismiss any such complaint that is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The mandatory language of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 applies to all proceedings in forma pauperis. Section 1915 provides:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-(A) the ...

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