April 7, 2004
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This case has been referred to the United States magistrate judge for initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from the district court. The findings and recommendation of the magistrate judge are as follow:
This is a pro se civil rights action brought by Plaintiff Louis Robles II, an inmate at the Sanders Estes Unit of the TDCJ-ID, against the President of Corrections Corporation of America and various prison employees. On March 5, 2004, plaintiff tendered a complaint to the district clerk and filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Because the information provided by plaintiff in his pauper's affidavit indicates that he lacks the funds necessary to prosecute this case, the court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and allowed the complaint to be filed. Written interrogatories were then sent to plaintiff in order to obtain additional information about the factual basis of his suit. See Spears v. McCotter, 766 F.2d 179, 181 (5th Cir. 1985). Plaintiff filed his interrogatory answers with the district clerk on April 6, 2004. The court now determines that this action is frivolous and should be summarily dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Corrections Corporation of America manages the Sanders Estes Unit under a contract with the TDCJ.
On October 9, 2003, plaintiff injured his shoulder, knee, and ankle when he slipped and fell on a wet floor in the hallway of the Sanders Estes Unit. Plaintiff alleges that defendants failed to warn inmates that the floor was wet and should have mopped up the water on the floor. By this action, plaintiff seeks $5,000 in compensatory damages for his pain and suffering, plus an unspecified amount of money to cover his medical expenses.
A district court may dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it concludes that the action is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). An action is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 1831, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); Henson-El v. Rogers, 923 F.2d 51, 53 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 2863 (1991). A complaint is without an arguable basis in law if it is grounded upon an untenable or discredited legal theory. Neitzke, 109 S.Ct. at 1831. A claim may be deemed to lack an arguable basis in fact only if it is based upon factual allegations that are clearly fanciful or delusional in nature. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 1733, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992).
The gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is that defendants were negligent for allowing an unsafe condition to exist in a prison hallway. However, such a claim sounds in negligence and is not actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332, 106 S.Ct. 662, 666, 88 L.Ed.2d 662 (1986) (inmate slipped and fell on pillow negligently left on stairs by prison guard). Because plaintiff has failed to allege any other basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction, this case should be summarily dismissed.
Federal diversity jurisdiction is not proper because plaintiff and at least some of the defendants are citizens of Texas. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
Plaintiff's complaint should be summarily dismissed as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).