Cicero vs. Mitchell

Filing 920070109


Download PDF
United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit UNITED STATES CO URT O F APPEALS TENTH CIRCUIT F I L E D January 9, 2007 Elisabeth A. Shumaker Clerk of Court W IN FRED CICERO, JR., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. (FNU) M ITCHELL, Associate W arden, USP Leavenworth, UN ITED STA TES O F A M ER IC AN , (FN U) ASHM AN, Associate W arden, USP Leavenworth, (FNU) O'CONNO R, W arden, Defendants-Appellees. Nos. 06-3109 and 06-3162 (D. Kansas) (D.C. No. 04-CV-3273- SAC) OR D ER AND JUDGM ENT * Before H E N RY, BR ISC OE, and O'BRIEN, Circuit Judges. After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously that oral argument would not materially assist the determination of this appeal. See F ED . R. A PP . P. 34(a)(2); 10 TH C IR . R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore ordered submitted without oral argument. This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. The court generally disfavors the citation of orders and judgments; nevertheless, an order and judgment may be cited under the terms and conditions of 10th Cir. R. 36.3. * W infred Cicero, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, appeals the district court's dismissal of his amended complaint, which alleged he was unlaw fully placed and held in administrative segregation at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. The district court determined that M r. Cicero had not exhausted his administrative remedies for bringing an action Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) and had not stated a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2875(a) ("FTCA"). Accordingly, the district court dismissed his complaint without prejudice, and denied M r. Cicero's motion, which he renews before us, to proceed in form a pauperis ("IFP"). The district court also denied M r. Cicero's postjudgment motion to amend his complaint. For the follow ing reasons, we reverse and remand. I. BACKGROUND M r. Cicero, who identifies himself as a "Sunni M uslim," contends he was retaliated against, deprived of a liberty interest, deprived of his equal protection rights, and deprived of his procedural due process rights when he was sequestered in Leavenworth's Special Housing Unit without notice of charges. In his initial complaint, M r. Cicero alleged only a violation of the FTCA. The district court noted however that M r. Cicero could not prevail on such a claim, because (1) he did not exhaust his FTCA claims, and/or (2) his claim for damages for mental anguish were insufficient to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1997(e). -2The district court added that M r. Cicero had exhausted a Bivens claim, but had pled it incorrectly: "[P]laintiff documents his full exhaustion of the Bureau of Prisons administrative grievance procedure, which suggests plaintiff may be seeking relief for the alleged violation of his constitutional rights." Rec. doc. 4, at 3 (D ist. Ct. Order, dated Sept. 9, 2004). In response to the district court's order, M r. Cicero sought to amend his complaint, to plead a Bivens action, and to seek compensatory and injunctive relief. Rec. doc. 13. The case was reassigned to a different district court judge and the district court, after granting M r. Cicero's motion to amend, dismissed the Bivens claim, reasoning that M r. Cicero failed to "exhaust [his] administrative remedies on any claim of racial discrimination, and his bare allegation of defendants' discrimination neither satisfies nor excuses this statutory exhaustion requirement." Dist. Ct. Order at 3, filed M arch 7, 2006. The district court also dismissed the FTCA claim because (1) M r. Cicero's complaint contained a mixture of exhausted and unexhausted claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1997e(a); and (2) M r. Cicero could not satisfy 1346(b)(2)'s requirement action that such an action show physical injury. On April 7, 2006, M r. Cicero attempted to amend his complaint once more. The district court denied this motion. II. DISCUSSION W e review de novo a district court's dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under 1997e(a). See Jernigan v. Stuchell, 304 F.3d -3- 1030, 1032 (10th C ir. 2002). Liberally construing M r. Cicero's pleadings, as we must, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Cum mings v. Evans, 161 F.3d 610, 613 (10th Cir.1998), M r. Cicero contends that the six-week segregation was (1) a retaliatory act that (2) violated his right to equal protection based on his religious beliefs as a Sunni M uslim. He also alleges that (3) this liberty interest deprivation was inflicted without (4) procedural due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Rec. doc. 13, at 6-7, Amended Complaint, filed June 6, 2005. ("Plaintiff received no order of detention for breaking any bureau rules or pending an investigation,. . . . [The W arden] ordered that all M uslims be taken into custody [which was] a discriminative act . . . . [P]laintiff's constitutional rights w ere violated because he was taken into custody solely because of his beliefs in Islam and the fact that he was a M uslim."). W e disagree with the district court's decision to dismiss M r. Cicero's Bivens claim for failure to "pursue and exhaust administrative remedies on any claim of racial discrimination." Dist. Ct. Order at 3, filed M arch 7,2006. W e see no allegation regarding racial discrimination in M r. Cicero's amended complaint. Rec. doc. 13. Additionally, as the first district court judge had previously determined, in its September 9, 2004 Order, M r. Cicero has provided documentation establishing -4- that he exhausted his Bivens claim. 1 Rec. doc. 4, at 3 ("Plaintiff documents his full exhaustion of the Bureau of Prisons administrative grievance procedure . . . ."). The amended complaint makes no reference to a claim under the FTCA. M oreover, M r. Cicero's appellate brief and his post-judgment motion to amend indicate that when M r. Cicero amended his complaint pursuant to the district court's suggestion he intended to change "F.T.C.A." to "Bivens" throughout the complaint. See Rec. doc. 25, at 2 ("Amendment," filed April 7, 2006). III. CONCLUSION Accordingly, we REVERSE the district court's order dismissing M r. Cicero's complaint and REM AND to the district court so that the district court may evaluate M r. Cicero's claim that he was retaliated and discriminated against Specifically, the record indicates that M r. Cicero filed an Informal Attempt to Resolve on July 22, 2004 informing staff at Leavenworth of his due process rights w hen he was placed in the Special H ousing Unit ("I was only locked down because I was a M uslim."). Rec. doc. 1, attachments. On July 27, 2004, he filed a Form BP-9 with the warden ("I was locked down . . . upon my answering [as to my religious preference]. I was escorted to [Special Housing Unit] without rec[ei]ving any lock-up papers."). On August 19, 2003, he filed Form BP-10 with the Regional Office ("[A]ll of the other prisoners that arrived with me were admitted to population . . I [did not] rec[ei]ve a detention order. Once I answered [] I was M uslim, the interview was over and I was taken to the [Special Housing Unit]."), and on November 22, 2003, he filed a form with the Central Office Administrative Remedy Appeal ("when I apprised staff that I was M uslim, I was detained and escorted to [Special Housing Unit], because of an incident that occur[r]ed prior to my arrival"). Id., attachments to Complaint. There is no question that M r. Cicero's filings satisfactorily "alert[ed] the prison to the nature of the wrong for which redress is sought." Kikumura v. Osagie, 461 F.3d 1269, 1283 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Strong v. David, 297 F.3d 646, 650 (7th Cir. 2002)). 1 -5- when he w as placed into administrative segregation based upon his status as a M uslim. W e G RANT M r. Cicero's motion to proceed IFP and remind M r. Cicero that he must continue making partial payments until the entire balance of the appellate filing fee is paid. Entered for the Court, Robert H. Henry Circuit Judge -6-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?