United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
JERXAVIER L. LANE
JUDY LOFTON, ET AL.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
accordance with the standing order of this court, this matter
was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for review,
report and recommendation.
the court is a civil rights complaint filed in forma
pauperis by pro se plaintiff JerXavier L. Lane
(“Plaintiff”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
This complaint was received and filed in this court on
January 13, 2016. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the
Louisiana State Penitentiary, but claims his civil rights
were violated by prison officials while incarcerated at the
David Wade Correctional Center in Homer, Louisiana. He names
Judy Lofton, Leann Chambers, Angie Huff, and James M. LeBlanc
claims Judy Lofton, the inmate banking officer, has denied
him access to the court and due process of law. He claims he
filed three petitions for judicial review in the Louisiana
Nineteenth Judicial District Court and was granted in
forma pauperis status in each case. Plaintiff claims
Lofton sporadically forwarded 20% of his inmate account to
the Louisiana Nineteenth Judicial District Court as required
by La. R.S. 15:1186 A(2) and B(1). He claims that at times,
Lofton withdrew funds from his savings account or withdrew
more than the required 20% without his permission and without
a court order.
claims Leann Chambers, Deputy Warden Angie Huff, and
Secretary James LeBlanc attempted to conceal Lofton's
wrong doing and failed to rectify the situation when it was
brought to their attention. He claims that on August 19,
2015, he filed a grievance in administrative remedy procedure
complaining of Lofton's actions regarding the withdrawal
of court fees. He claims that on September 11, 2015, Chambers
responded to his grievance stating that all court orders from
the district court are entered into a debt system at
headquarters and a computer program automatically withdraws
20 percent of the funds deposited to his account. He claims
she further stated that the computer program is triggered by
the activity in his account and that Lofton has no control of
the computer program. He claims she stated that court fees
are mailed to the district court once a month by the DOC
Offender Banking Staff. Plaintiff claims that Huff and
LeBlanc agreed with Chamber's response to his grievance.
claims his actions are stayed until his filing fees are paid
Plaintiff seeks punitive damages.
following reasons, Plaintiff's complaint should be
dismissed with prejudice as frivolous.
claims he was denied access to the courts because his filing
fees were not paid properly. Prisoners have a constitutional
right of meaningful access to the courts. Degrate v.
Godwin, 84 F.3d 768, 768-69 (5th Cir.1996) (quoting
Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828, 97 S.Ct. 1491,
1498, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977)). However, this constitutional
guarantee is not without limitation. Lewis v. Casey,
518 U.S. 343 (1996) (quoting Turner v. Safley, 482
U.S. 78, 89, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 2261-62, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987)).
In Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, (1996), the Supreme
Court reviewed its holding in Bounds v. Smith, 430
U.S. 817, (1977) which is the source of a prisoner's
constitutional right to "meaningful access to the
courts.” While the Supreme Court reaffirmed a
prisoner's right of access to the courts in
Lewis, the Court limited the parameters of
Bounds and set forth a standard to be applied when
determining whether to grant relief for an access to the
courts violation. In so holding, the Court noted that a
prisoner must show an actual injury, explaining that this
requirement is derived from the doctrine of standing.
Lewis, 116 S.Ct. at 2179. The Court used the analogy
of a prisoner who is denied access to that of a healthy
prisoner who has been deprived of medical treatment. In both
cases, neither the access deprived prisoner nor the healthy
prisoner have sustained constitutional injury, and thus, are
not entitled to relief under Section 1983. The Court
emphasized that the court's role is to provide relief to
claimants who have suffered actual harm, not to interfere
with the management of prisons.
the Fifth Circuit has held that a prisoner cannot prevail on
an access to the courts claim without proving an actual
injury in non-frivolous litigation as a result of the
defendant's alleged unconstitutional conduct. Ruiz v.
United States, 160 F.3d 273, 275 (5th Cir. 1998);
Chriceol v. Phillips, 169 F.3d 313, 317 (5th Cir.
of the actual injury requirement to the instant case supports
a finding that Plaintiff‘s claims are frivolous.
Clearly, Plaintiff has not satisfied the “actual
injury” requirement. Plaintiff has failed to
demonstrate that he lost the right to commence, prosecute or
appeal any ...