United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Deal (“Plaintiff”) is a self-represented inmate
who was once housed at the David Wade Correctional Center
(“DWCC”). He filed this civil action against
several prison officials based on allegations that (1) some
of them wrongfully denied him the opportunity to attend a
criminal court hearing and (2) he was mistreated while being
placed in administrative segregation. The court ordered
service on the defendants. Service papers for the DWCC
employees were delivered to the DOC legal office pursuant to
an arrangement for the service of current DOC employees.
legal office ordinarily requires a first and last name of any
served defendant to ensure that they are a current employee.
Plaintiff described one defendant only as Lt. Carter. Service
papers intended for that defendant were returned with the
notation that the first name was needed. The court issued an
order and allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to provide the
first name, but he was unable to do so. Docs. 17 & 21.
After reviewing the allegations against Lt. Carter, the
undersigned recommends that all claims against him be
dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief may be
alleges that he had a state court hearing set for September
14, 2017 in connection with a motion to correct an illegal
sentence. Plaintiff alleges that he presented various notices
to DWCC officials but was unsuccessful in persuading them to
transport him to the hearing. Most of Plaintiff's
complaint addresses his dissatisfaction with how this matter
was handled. Lt. Carter is not alleged to have any role in
these alleged facts.
alleges in his amended complaint (Doc. 7) that when he was
not taken to his court hearing, he was sent to speak to
classification officer Deborah Cody, who told him that he
needed to file a motion to obtain a court order for his
transport to the hearing. When Plaintiff replied, “I
done that already, ” Ms. Cody “blew up and wrote
me up for defiance stating I was talking over her.”
Plaintiff was ordered to be placed on lockdown.
Carter's only role in the alleged facts is when Plaintiff
arrived at the administrative segregation unit to be placed
on lockdown. Plaintiff alleges that he “asked with
respect” to be placed in a cell by himself, but
“Lt. Carter stated you will go where the f*** we put
you.” Plaintiff alleges that he “stated to Lt.
Carter that he can't force me to go in a cell with
someone.” His next allegation is that Major Coleman
then arrived and told Plaintiff to shut up before Coleman
sprayed him. Plaintiff allegedly told him to go ahead, and
Coleman then allegedly dragged Plaintiff to an area where
there were no witnesses. Their confrontation continued until
Coleman allegedly twice sprayed Plaintiff with chemical spray
while Plaintiff was on his knees in restraints. Plaintiff
does not allege that Lt. Carter participated in the use of
chemical spray or was even a witness to it.
is proceeding in forma pauperis. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) & (ii), the district court shall dismiss
an IFP complaint at any time if it determines that the
complaint is frivolous or malicious or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. A complaint is frivolous if
it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. It lacks an
arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory. The complaint lacks an arguable basis
in fact if the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Rogers
v. Boatright, 709 F.3rd 403, 407 (5th Cir. 2013).
court may exercise its authority to dismiss an action on its
own motion for failure to state a claim as long as the
procedure employed is fair. Bazrowx v. Scott, 136
F.3d 1053, 1054 (5th Cir. 1998). This procedure is fair,
because this Report and Recommendation provides Plaintiff
with sufficient notice of and opportunity to respond to the
possible dismissal of his case. Magouirk v.
Phillips, 144 F.3d 348, 359 (5th Cir. 1998). And the
court need not await service of a defendant to dismiss him
from the case. Alexander v. Trump, 753 Fed.Appx.
201, 208 (5th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 S.Ct.
filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. That
statute provides that every person who, acting under color of
state law, subjects a person to the “deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law” for damages. Thus, to plead a claim for relief
under Section 1983, Plaintiff must allege that Lt. Carter
violated a right secured by the constitution or laws of the
United States. Johnson v. Dallas ISD, 38 F.3d 198,
200 (5th Cir. 1994). Section 1983 is not a federal tort law,
so claims such as negligence that might be actionable under
state law will not make out a claim. Daniels v.
Williams, 106 S.Ct. 662 (1986).
only allegations against Lt. Carter in his original or
amended complaint are that Carter refused Plaintiff's
request for a private cell and told Plaintiff that he would
go where Carter put him. These allegations do not make out a
violation of the Due Process clause or any other provision of
the constitution. It is well recognized that “prison
officials exercise sole discretion over inmate unit
placement, and inmates do not have a constitutionally
protected property or liberty interest in housing in certain
facilities.” Adeleke v. Heaton, 352 Fed.Appx.
904, 908-09 (5th Cir. 2009). Louisiana prison officials
engaged in the classification of inmates “should be
accorded the widest possible deference” in the
application of policies designed to maintain security and
preserve order. McCord v. ...