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Gibson v. The Geo Group

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 27, 2017

LIONEL GIBSON, Plaintiff,
v.
THE GEO GROUP, ANGIE PRICE, KEITH BUTTS, ROBERT BUGHER, LAWRENCE ONYESONWU Officer, J. GILMER Officer, S. BECKER Officer, L. STORM Lieutenant, Defendants.

          ENTRY REJECTING COMPLAINT BASED ON MISJOINDER AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE

         I. Background

         The plaintiff Lionel Gibson (“Mr. Gibson”), is a prisoner currently incarcerated at the Miami Correctional Facility. All of his allegations arise from incidents that occurred at the New Castle Correctional Facility (“New Castle”).

         Mr. Gibson has paid the initial partial filing fee. The complaint, filed on January 10, 2017, is now subject to the screening requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This statute directs that the Court dismiss a complaint or any claim within a complaint which “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id.

         To survive dismissal,

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. 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.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         II. Discussion of Complaint

         The complaint is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and names the following defendants: 1) the GEO Group; 2) Angie Price; 3) Keith Butts; 4) Robert Bugher; 5) Officer Lawrence Onyesonwu; 6) Officer J. Gilmer; 7) Officer S. Becker; and 8) Lt. L. Storm. Mr. Gibson seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         Mr. Gibson's claim against the GEO Group is that it had policies that led to Mr. Gibson being subjected to excessive force, denied of due process, denying an impartial decision-maker in a disciplinary hearing, and in denying him access to the courts. Mr. Gibson alleges no facts from which the Court can infer the existence of any such policies.

         Mr. Gibson alleges that he was attacked by other inmates on January 11, 2016, and that before the attack, he had given Unit Manager Angie Price notice of being threatened by an offender who was recently housed at New Castle, all in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. He also alleges that Officer Onyesonwu failed to protect him from the attack.

         Mr. Gibson also alleges that Angie Price was the hearing officer in the resulting disciplinary action in which he was charged with assault, and that she was not impartial in that position. He alleges that Warden Butts and Robert Bugher denied his appeals in the disciplinary action. His finding of guilty and sanctions were ultimately vacated and rescinded in his federal habeas case, on September 21, 2016, in 1:16-cv-0834-SEB-MJD. He brings these claims as violations of his due process rights. He seeks compensation for the 140 days he alleges he spent in segregation as a result of the disciplinary charge.

         Mr. Gibson alleges that he was denied access to the courts when he was held on strip cell status at a time that prevented him from filing a timely notice of appeal of a denial of a motion to correct an erroneous sentence in Lake County Superior Court. He brings this claim against Warden Keith Butts and Lt. Storm. He does not allege facts as to whether his appeal would have been meritorious.

         Mr. Gibson also brings excessive force and/or failure to protect claims under the Eighth Amendment against ...


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