United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
J. DAVIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Shamane McFadden, an inmate of the Florida Women's
Reception Center (FWRC), initiated this action by filing a
pro se Civil Rights Complaint (Doc. 1) and a motion to
proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2). Finding the Complaint
deficient, this Court directed Plaintiff to file an amended
complaint, see Order (Doc. 12), which is now before the Court
for initial screening. In the Amended Complaint (Doc. 13; Am.
Compl.), Plaintiff names two Defendants, officer Marcus
Cruger and the Florida Department of Corrections
(FDOC) medical provider for the FWRC. See Am. Compl. at 2.
She asserts Defendant Cruger negligently slammed a door on
her finger, which resulted in part of her finger being
severed. Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff had surgery, but the
doctor could not reattach the severed piece of her finger
because it was not properly preserved. Id. at 5. As
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages. Id.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a district court
to dismiss a complaint if the court determines the action is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which
relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
With respect to whether a complaint “fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, ” the language of
the PLRA mirrors the language of Rule 12(b)(6), Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, so courts apply the same standard in both
contexts. Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490
(11th Cir. 1997); see also Alba v. Montford, 517
F.3d 1249, 1252 (11th Cir. 2008). “To 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.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“Labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” that
amount to “naked assertions” will not suffice.
Id. (quotations, alteration, and citation omitted).
a complaint must “contain either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to
sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.”
Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d
678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001) (quotations and citations omitted).
In reviewing a pro se plaintiff's pleadings, a court must
liberally construe the plaintiff's allegations. See
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972);
Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir.
2011). However, the duty of a court to construe pro se
pleadings liberally does not require the court to serve as an
attorney for the plaintiff. Freeman v. Sec'y, Dept.
of Corr., 679 Fed.Appx. 982, 982 (11th Cir. 2017)
(citing GJR Invs., Inc. v. Cty. of Escambia, 132
F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998)).
Amended Complaint is subject to dismissal under this
Court's screening obligation because she fails to
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. To state a claim
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
“(1) both that the defendant deprived [her] of a right
secured under the Constitution or federal law and (2) that
such a deprivation occurred under color of state law.”
See Bingham, 654 F.3d at 1175.
does not identify a constitutional amendment Defendant Cruger
allegedly violated. See Am. Compl. at 3. Construing her
allegations liberally, the most logical source of
constitutional protection is the Eighth Amendment.
“When prison officials maliciously and sadistically use
force to cause harm, contemporary standards of decency always
are violated.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S.
1, 9 (1992). However, not “every malevolent
touch” by a prison official constitutes a malicious and
sadistic use of force. Id. at 10. To establish a
violation of the cruel and unusual punishment clause, a
plaintiff must allege “more than ordinary lack of due
care for the prisoner's interests or safety.”
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986). De
minimis uses of physical force, even if unnecessary, do not
violate the Eighth Amendment provided the force is not
“of a sort repugnant to the conscience of
mankind.” Hudson, 503 U.S. at 10 (quoting Whitley, 475
U.S. at 327).
allegations do not state an Eighth Amendment violation.
Plaintiff asserts Defendant Cruger was “angry”
because the foyer was over capacity and, without warning and
out of frustration, he slammed the door. See Am. Compl. at 5.
Plaintiff alleges no conduct or state of mind demonstrating
Defendant Cruger acted maliciously or sadistically to cause
her harm. For instance, she does not allege Defendant Cruger
knew her finger was in the door jam or closed the door with
the intent to harm her. Notably, Plaintiff was not the only
inmate in the area being secured; Plaintiff states there were
over 50 inmates in the area. Id. at 3.
Plaintiff's own words, Defendant Cruger acted
“without regard for inmate safety, ” id., which
speaks to negligence rather than to an Eighth Amendment
violation. See Whitley, 475 U.S. at 319. Negligence is not a
constitutional violation under § 1983. See Harris v.
Coweta Cty., 21 F.3d 388, 393 (11th Cir. 1994) (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976))
(“Accidents, mistakes, negligence, and medical
malpractice are not constitutional violation[s] merely
because the victim is a prisoner.”) (internal quotation
marks omitted; alteration in original). See also Daniels
v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332 (1986) (stating, in a due
process context, a “lack of due care suggests no more
than a failure to measure up to the conduct of a reasonable
also fails to state a claim for relief against the FDOC
medical provider for the FWRC. The Supreme Court has held
that states, including state agencies and arms of the state,
are “not persons within the meaning of §
1983.” Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64, 70 (1989). The Department of
Corrections, a state agency, is not a person amenable to suit
under § 1983. See Gardner v. Riska, 444
Fed.Appx. 353, 355 (11th Cir. 2011) (holding a claim for
damages under § 1983 against the FDOC was frivolous).
Plaintiff identified a specific individual as a defendant,
she does not allege the individuals involved in her treatment
acted with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.
In fact, she alleges she was sent to the hospital where she
had surgery. A failure to properly preserve severed tissue
suggests medical negligence, which is insufficient to
establish liability under § 1983. See Estelle, 429 U.S.
at 106 (“Medical malpractice does not become a
constitutional violation merely because the victim is a
prisoner.”). See also Harris v. Thigpen, 941
F.2d 1495, 1505 (11th Cir. 1991) (“Medical treatment
violates the eighth amendment only when it is ‘so
grossly incompetent, inadequate, or excessive as to shock the
conscience or to be intolerable to fundamental
case is DISMISSED without prejudice.
Clerk shall enter judgment dismissing this
case without prejudice, terminate any ...