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Jones v. Rodgers

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division

August 23, 2019

GERRARD D. JONES, Plaintiff,



         THIS CAUSE is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss (“Motion, ” Doc. 36) filed by Defendants Patricia Rodgers, Mark Geiger, and Jeffrey Howell (collectively “Defendants”) and Plaintiff's Response thereto (Doc. 37). As set forth below, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff filed an Amended Civil Rights Complaint (“Amended Complaint, ” Doc. 6) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On October 5, 2017, Plaintiff was talking to an unnamed prison staff member while sitting in the hallway of the medical department at Marion Correctional Institution awaiting foot surgery when he overheard a conversation among Classification Supervisor Patricia Rodgers (“Defendant Rodgers”), Assistant Warden Jeffrey Howell (“Defendant Howell”), and Sergeant Mark Geiger[1] (“Defendant Geiger”). (Id. at 6). The Defendants were talking about “how stupid” Sergeant Savage was, and then called him over the radio to report to their location. (Id.).

         The Defendants and Savage discussed the deficiencies in disciplinary reports (“DRs”) that Savage had prepared and that he needed to correct them so the inmates, referred to as a racial slur, would not win on appeal. (Id.). Defendant Rodgers wrote out a list of points that Savage needed to include in the DR “so we can stick the n ----- .” (Id.) Plaintiff had received a pencil and paper from the unnamed staff member and was taking notes of what he had heard. (Id. at 7). Defendant Geiger saw Plaintiff writing, confiscated the notes, and sought to put him in confinement, but some unnamed nurses intervened telling Defendant Geiger that Plaintiff was already prepped for surgery and the doctor was waiting. (Id.)

         Plaintiff was given crutches after he underwent the two-hour procedure and the doctor told him to go back to his dorm and to stay off his foot. (Id.). At some point after the surgery Defendant Geiger and Savage accosted Plaintiff, took his crutches, pushed him to Geiger's office, called him a racial slur, berated him about the earlier notetaking, and complained about Plaintiff's anti-gang program.[2] (Id.). Plaintiff states that at the request of Defendant Rodgers, Defendant Geiger conjured up false allegations that Plaintiff was in a gang. (Id.). Defendant Geiger then forced Plaintiff to stand on his foot with stitches, take off his shirt, and took pictures of Plaintiff's upper body tattoos. Defendant Geiger told Plaintiff he was going to close management and complained that Plaintiff's anti-gang program was going to put him out his job as the institution's gang-officer. (Id. at 7-8). Defendant Geiger then told Savage to “Take his black ass fake lawyer ass to fucking confinement.” (Id. at 8).

         Plaintiff also states that at the request of Defendant Rodgers, Defendant Geiger made false PREA[3] allegations against Plaintiff, false reports of Plaintiff extorting inmates, false reports of running a prostitution ring, falsely accused him of being affiliated with gangs, and falsely accused Plaintiff of controlling drugs, cell phones, and money. (Id. at 9). Plaintiff claims that Defendants Rodgers and Geiger falsified the close management referral which led to him being placed on close management 2 (“CM II”) status, in retaliation for him filing grievances and lawsuits and for his anti-gang program. (Id. at 9-12). Plaintiff states that Defendant Rodgers was in charge of the CM II panel that approved the referral she falsified. (Id. at 12-13).

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants Howell, Rodgers, and Geiger are retaliatory and racist, and treat white inmates more favorably. (Id. at 14-16). Plaintiff lists multiple white prisoners that committed severe infractions while incarcerated that were reviewed by the Defendants but not referred to close management. (Id.). Plaintiff also states that he provided information that got one of Defendant Rodgers' and Geiger's favorite officers fired, which also led to him being falsely referred to close management. (Id. at 16-17).

         Plaintiff complains that his ability to appeal his CM II referral was denied because Defendants Rodgers and Howell were on the administrate review panel. (Id. at 17-18). Plaintiff further claims that Defendant Howell sabotaged his appeals by withholding documents and delaying the return of his appeal paperwork. (Id. at 17-20).

         Plaintiff also claims that he is being housed in a cell without adequate drinking water, a leaking toilet, no heat, and no winter clothing. (Id. at 20). Plaintiff states that he has been denied visitation, phone calls, personal clothing, and comfort items. (Id. at 21). He claims he is a personal prisoner of the Defendants, who brag to other inmates regarding “how they put that n ----- Lawyerboy on CM2.” (Id.).

         II. Legal Standards

         “A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In determining whether to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court accepts the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construes them in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. See United Techs. Corp. v. Mazer, 556 F.3d 1260, 1269 (11th Cir. 2009). Nonetheless, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions, ” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Furthermore, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. 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.” Id. Generally, in deciding a motion to dismiss, “[t]he scope of the review must be limited to the four corners of the complaint.” St. George v. Pinellas Cty., 285 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2002). In the case of a pro se action, the Court should construe the complaint more liberally than it would pleadings drafted by lawyers. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980).

         III. Discussion

         A. First ...

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