United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
TIMOTHY J. CORRIGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
initiated this action by filing a pro se Civil Rights
Complaint (Docs. 1; 2). He is proceeding as a pauper,
see Doc. 5, on an Amended Complaint, see
Doc. 9. He sues the following three Defendants in their
individual capacities: Correctional Officer Ms. Hoover,
Sergeant R. Morris, and the Florida Department of
alleges that Defendants Hoover and Morris violated his Eighth
Amendment rights by failing to protect him from violence at
the hands of other prisoners. He argues that on May 14, 2019,
he notified Defendants Hoover and Morris on three occasions
about other inmates threatening him with bodily harm.
However, according to Plaintiff, each time he asked for help,
Defendants Hoover and Morris told Plaintiff he should not be
worried, asked Plaintiff to stop asking for help, or told
Plaintiff their shift was ending soon and to tell someone
else. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Hoover and
Morris' failure to protect him resulted in him being
sexually assaulted and suffering physical and emotional
sues the FDOC in its “individual capacity, ”
alleging the FDOC “has a responsibility to hire and
train qualified correctional officer[s], these 2 correctional
officers that was hired by [FDOC] have violated policy that
they would protect inmates from danger. This negligence
resulted in . . . [Plaintiff] being assaulted and sexual[ly]
violated . . . .” Plaintiff seeks “relief in the
sum of $50, 000 from each Defendant.”
Prison Litigation Reform Act requires the Court to dismiss a
case at any time if the Court determines that the action is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In reviewing a pro se
plaintiff's pleadings, the 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).
respect to whether a complaint “fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted, ” §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) mirrors the language of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), 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 do. Id. (quotations,
alteration, and citation omitted). Moreover, 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).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that (1) the defendant deprived him of a right secured
under the United States Constitution or federal law, and (2)
such deprivation occurred under color of state law. See
Salvato v. Miley, 790 F.3d 1286, 1295 (11th Cir. 2015).
Moreover, “conclusory allegations, unwarranted
deductions of facts, or legal conclusions masquerading as
facts will not prevent dismissal.” Rehberger v.
Henry Cty., Ga., 577 Fed.Appx. 937, 938 (11th Cir. 2014)
(per curiam) (quotations and citation omitted). In the
absence of a federal constitutional deprivation or violation
of a federal right, a plaintiff cannot sustain a cause of
action against a defendant.
sues the FDOC in its “individual capacity.”
However, state and governmental entities that are considered
“arms of the state” are not “persons”
subject to liability for purposes of a § l983 action.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 70 (1989). The FDOC is an arm of the executive branch of
state government, see Fla. Stat. § 20.315, and
thus, is not a person subject to an individual capacity claim
under § l983.
extent, Plaintiff predicates liability on the FDOC as a
governmental entity, the FDOC may be liable under § 1983
for failing to train Defendants Hoover and Morris if: (1) the
FDOC inadequately trains or supervises its employees; (2)
this failure to train or supervise is a policy of the FDOC;
and (3) that policy causes the employees to violate a
person's constitutional rights. See Gold v. City of
Miami, 151 F.3d 1346, 1350 (11th Cir. 1998) (citing
City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989)).
Because a governmental entity will rarely have an express
policy of inadequately training or supervising its employees,
a plaintiff may prove such a policy by showing that the
entity's failure to train or supervise evidenced a
deliberate indifference to the rights of its citizens.
Gold, 151 F.3d at 1350. “To establish a
‘deliberate or conscious choice' or such
‘deliberate indifference,' a plaintiff must present
some evidence that the municipality knew of a need to train
and/or supervise in a particular area and the municipality
made a deliberate choice not to take any action.”
Id. A claim concerning an isolated incident is
generally insufficient to sustain a claim for failure to
train; rather, there must be evidence “of a history of
widespread prior abuse” such that the FDOC was
“on notice of the need for improved training or
supervision.” Wright v. Sheppard, 919 F.2d
665, 674 (11th Cir. 1990); see also Popham v. City of
Talladega, 908 F.2d 1561, 1564-65 (11th Cir.1990)
(finding no liability for failure to train when no pattern of
incidents put the city on notice of a need to train).
fails to adequately allege a failure to train claim against
Defendant FDOC as a governmental entity. Rather than alleging
that the FDOC has a policy of inadequately training its
employees to protect inmates from abuse by other inmates,
Plaintiff states that the FDOC has a policy to
protect inmates from danger and that Defendants Hoover and
Morris violated that policy. Plaintiff further fails to
allege that the FDOC knew of a need to train and/or supervise
its officers regarding this type of abuse and made a
deliberate decision to not train its officers. He does not
allege that there is a history of similar and widespread
constitutional violations, which would have put the FDOC on
notice of the need to correct it. Instead, the allegations in
the Amended Complaint allege no more than a related set of
facts that occurred on a single day. As such, the sole claim
against the FDOC is due to be dismissed.
claims against the Florida Department of Corrections are
DISMISSED without prejudice, and the Clerk
shall terminate the Florida ...