United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
DEE D. DRELL
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is a civil rights complaint (42 U.S.C. § 1983)
filed by pro se Plaintiff Ronald O'Dell Clesi (#320993)
(“Clesi”). Clesi was granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. (Doc. 8). Clesi is an inmate in
the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections
(“DOC”), incarcerated at the Jackson Parish
Correctional Center (“JPCC”) in Jonesboro,
Louisiana. Clesi complains that Catholic masses are not
available at the La Salle Correctional Center
(“LCC”), where he was previously incarcerated.
Clesi requests that the Court order Warden Frederick to
provide Catholic masses to inmates at LCC. Clesi also seeks
punitive damages because he was unable to practice his
religion at LCC.
complaint should be dismissed because his request for
injunctive relief is moot, and Clesi cannot show an
entitlement to punitive damages.
alleges that his request for a Catholic mass at LCC was
rejected because LCC is a “non-denomination
camp.” (Doc. 1, p. 3). Clesi sought a transfer to a
facility that would allow him to practice the Catholic
religion, and his request was approved. Clesi is no longer
housed at LCC. (Doc. 1-2, p. 1).
Law and Analysis
Clesi's complaint is subject to screening under
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
is a prisoner who has been allowed to proceed in forma
pauperis. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915A provides for the
preliminary screening of lawsuits filed by prisoners seeking
redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity.
See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir.
1998) (per curiam); Rosborough v. Mgmt. and Training
Corp., 350 F.3d 459, 461 (5th Cir. 2003). Because Clesi
is proceeding in forma pauperis, his complaint is
also subject to screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) provide for sua
sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion
thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if
it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
Clesi's request for injunctive relief is
seeks injunctive relief in the form of an order directing LCC
to provide a Catholic mass. Clesi is no longer incarcerated
at LCC. The transfer of a prisoner out of an allegedly
offending institution generally renders his claims for
injunctive relief moot. See Edwards v. Johnson, 209
F.3d 772, 776 (5th Cir. 2000); Cooper v. Sheriff, Lubbock
County, Tex., 929 F.2d 1078, 1081 (5th Cir. 1991). In
order for Clesi's claim for injunctive relief to remain
viable, he would have to establish a “demonstrated
probability” or a “reasonable expectation”
that he would again be incarcerated at LCC. See Oliver v.
Scott, 276 F.3d 736, 741 (5th Cir. 2002) (citation
omitted); Herman v. Holiday, 238 F.3d 660, 665 (5th
Cir. 2001) (transfer from facility mooted claims for
declaratory and injunctive relief where possibility of
transfer back to facility was too speculative to warrant
requested a transfer from LCC so that he could attend
Catholic mass, and his request was granted. Clesi has not
presented any facts indicating a reasonable likelihood that
he will be transferred back to LCC. Therefore, Clesi's
request for injunctive relief should be dismissed as moot.
Clesi is not entitled to punitive damages.
requests monetary damages to “punish” Warden
Frederick. (Doc. 1, p. 4). “[P]unitive damages may be
awarded only when the defendant's conduct is motivated by
evil intent or demonstrates reckless or callous
indifference to a person's constitutional rights.”
Williams v. Kaufman Cty., 352 F.3d 994, 1015 (5th
Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
La. ACORN Fair Housing v. LeBlanc, 211 F.3d 298, 303
(5th Cir. 2000)). Clesi has alleged no facts indicating that
Warden Frederick had an evil ...