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Reed v. Harris

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

August 15, 2013

RAY REED, Plaintiff,
v.
LINDA HARRIS, ET AL, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

LINDA R. ANDERSON, Magistrate Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis filed by Ray Reed [hereinafter "Plaintiff"], an adult resident citizen of Hinds County, Mississippi. Plaintiff has filed a Complaint against employees at the University of Mississippi Medical Center ["UMMC"], including Janet Harris, Mirana Baldwin, Linda Wiggans, Latasha McGee, Dr. John Norton, Monica White, Wendy Rainer, and Fontishia Davis [hereinafter "Defendants"]. Plaintiff alleges that all of these Defendants are also residents of Hinds County, Mississippi.

If only his income and expenses are reviewed, Plaintiff may be entitled to proceed without the prepayment of fees. He is a quadriplegic who receives only $698 per month in supplemental security income. Because he is housed in the Shelby Nursing and Rehab Center in Shelby, Mississippi, he only actually receives $30 per month of these funds for his personal needs. However, 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(1) does not mandate that the Court grant in forma pauperis status, even if the financial indicators suggest it. Instead, the statute provides that the Court may grant permission to proceed without the prepayment of fees, and the Court is granted wide discretion to make that decision. Flowers v. Turbine Support Div., 507 F.2d 1242, 1244 (5th Cir. 1974).

Granting Plaintiff in forma pauperis status to proceed with this lawsuit in federal court also permits the Court to dismiss the case at any time if it determines that the Complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B). This statute applies equally to prisoner and non-prisoner cases. Newsom v. EEOC, 301 F.3d 227, 231-33 (5th Cir. 2002). The reason for permitting early dismissal is clear - to "discourage the filing of, and waste of judicial and private resources upon, baseless lawsuits that paying litigants generally do not initiate because of the threat of sanctions for bringing vexatious suits under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). Thus, the Court is not required to wait until a defendant has been served, at taxpayer expense, and has moved for dismissal; the Court may dismiss a case on its own motion if it falls within the parameters of § 1915(e)(2). Id.

In his Complaint, Plaintiff contends that he was admitted to UMMC on February 27, 2013, but these Defendants failed and sometimes "willfully and deliberately" refused to meet his medical needs and were negligent in caring for him. Complaint [1, pp. 1-3]. He also contends that he was turned and moved with "excessive force, " [1, p. 7] and that he was subjected to "harassment." [1, pp. 7-9.] As his jurisdictional basis, Plaintiff stated:

Plaintiff is bringing this civil action lawsuit before this honorable court, due to this facility being a state facility, or a state funded facility. Also Plaintiff is unsure about which statute to use due to the fact that he has no access to a law library and/or law books. However, Plaintiff cannot be held to the same standards as a real attorney.

[1, p. 9].

Plaintiff summed up his Complaint by the following statement of "facts":

Plaintiff claims "negligence, " "discrimination, " harassment, "reckless endangerment, " "deliberate indifference" against the defendants. Each of the defendants knew what was required regarding my medical care by way of my doctors' medical orders, and as medical care providers the defendants know that they can't harass or provide false information against a patient, thus each patient is to be treated equally, and not be put in harms way.

[1, p. 10].

Plaintiff was given an opportunity to amend his Complaint by the Court's Order entered June 28, 2013 [4]. He did so by filing the amendment on August 8, 2013 [7]. The amendment states the following:

...
However, Plaintiff feels that this Honorable Court does have jurisdiction to hear this subject matter under the "supplemental or pendent jurisdiction."
The claims that Plaintiff alleges in his complaint gives rise to "deliberate indifference, " "reckless disregard, " "subjective recklessness, " and more importantly, "cruel and unusual punishment." Notwithstanding these ...

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