Evans v. Perkins (INMATE 1)

Filing 5

RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that: (1) the plaintiff's claims with respect to his classification level, confinement at the Elmore Correctional Center, work release placement and access to rehabilitative programs be dismissed with preju dice prior to service of process; (2) the plaintiff's claims against Willie Thomas, Richard Allen, and Paul Whaley be summarily dismissed; (3) Willie Thomas, Richard Allen, and Paul Whaley be dismissed as defendants in this cause of action; (4) this case, with respect to the plaintiff's claim against defendant Perkins for his alleged failure to provide a safe work environment be referred back to the Magistrate Judge for appropriate proceedings. Objections to R&R due by 2/19/2007. Signed by Judge Charles S. Coody on 2/6/07. (sl, )

Download PDF
Evans v. Perkins (INMATE 1) Doc. 5 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 1 of 8 IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION E R IC DEMETRIUS EVANS, A IS #249159, Plaintiff, v. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C IV IL ACTION NO. 2:07-CV-100-WHA [W O ] R A L P H PERKINS, et al., Defendants. R E C O M M E N D A T I O N OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE I . Introduction In this 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, Eric Demetrius Evans ["Evans"], a state inmate, c o m p l a in s of an injury he suffered while working at the Elmore Correctional Center and q u e s tio n s the constitutionality of his confinement at the aforementioned facility. Evans also c h a l le n g e s his classification level, the failure to place him on work release and lack of access to rehabilitative programs. He names Ralph Perkins, laundry supervisor at the Elmore C o rre c tio n a l Center, Willie Thomas, the warden of such facility, Richard Allen, c o m m is s io n e r of the Alabama Department of Corrections, and Paul Whaley, the director of c la ss if ic a tio n for the state prison system, as defendants in this cause of action. Evans seeks d e c lar a to ry relief and monetary damages for the alleged violations of his constitutional rights U p o n review of the complaint, the court concludes that the plaintiff's claims against Dockets.Justia.com Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 2 of 8 d e f en d a n ts Thomas and Allen and the constitutional challenges relative to his classification le v e l, facility assignment, placement in work release and access to rehabilitation programs b e dismissed with prejudice prior to service of process upon application of the provisions set forth in 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii).1 I I . DISCUSSION A . Respondeat Superior E v a n s asserts that defendants Thomas and Allen are "liable pursuant to respondeat s u p e rio r." Plaintiff's Complaint at 3. The law is well settled that a defendant cannot be held lia b le in an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 under the theory of respondeat s u p e rio r or on the basis of vicarious liability. Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 6 9 0 -92 , 98 S.Ct. 2018, 2036, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Harris v. Ostrout, 65 F.3d 912, 917 (11 th Cir. 1995); Belcher v. City of Foley, 30 F.3d 1390, 1396 (11 th Cir. 1994); LaMarca v. T u r n e r , 995 F.2d 1526, 1538 (11th Cir.1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1164, 114 S.Ct. 1189, 1 2 7 L.Ed.2d 539 (1994). In light of the foregoing, the court concludes that the plaintiff's claim s against defendants Thomas and Allen lack an arguable basis in law and are therefore s u b je c t to summary dismissal in accordance with the directives of 28 U.S.C. A prisoner who is allowed to proceed in forma pauperis in this court will have his complaint screened in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). This screening procedure requires the court to dismiss a prisoner's claims prior to service of process if it determines that the complaint contains claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). 1 2 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 3 of 8 1 9 1 5 (e )( 2 )( B )( i). Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).2 B . Classification T o the extent Evans complains his classification level is improper due to the d e f e n d a n ts failure to follow the procedure outlined in administrative regulations, he is e n title d to no relief. An inmate confined in the Alabama prison system has no c o n s titu t io n a lly protected interest in the procedure affecting his classification level because th e resulting restraint, without more, does not impose an "atypical and significant hardship o n the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 4 7 2 , 484 (1995). Because Evans has no constitutionally protected interest in the level of his c u sto d y classification, correctional officials may assign him to any classification level w ith o u t implicating the protections of due process. Thus, the classification decision about w h ic h Evans complains is due to be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). C. Confinement at Elmore Correctional Center E v a n s asserts that correctional officials denied him a transfer to the Alexander City C o m m u n ity Based Facility and, instead, placed him at the Elmore Correctional Center in v io la tio n of his due process rights. A convicted prisoner has no constitutionally protected rig h t to confinement in a particular penal facility. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224 (1 9 7 6 ). Thus, an inmate may be confined in any correctional facility without implicating the Although Neitzke interpreted the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(d), the predecessor to 1915(e)(2), the analysis contained therein remains applicable to the directives contained in the present statute. 2 3 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 4 of 8 p ris o n e r' s constitutional rights. Id.; see also Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242 (1976). A l th o u g h the plaintiff's confinement at the Elmore Correctional Center may entail "more burd e n s o m e conditions" than that of a community based facility such confinement is "`within th e normal limits or range of custody which the conviction has authorized the State to im p o se.' [Meachum, 427 U.S. at 225]; see also Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242, 96 S .C t. 2543, 2547, 49 L.Ed.2d 466 (1976)." Sandin, 515 U.S. at 478. Consequently, the f a ilu re to transfer Evans to a correctional facility of his choosing does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation and such claim therefore provides no basis for relief in this 42 U .S .C . 1983 action. D. Work Release E v a n s complains that the defendants have failed to place him in work release status. T h is claim, however, likewise entitles Evans to no relief from this court. The law is well s e ttle d that an inmate in the Alabama prison system has no state created liberty interest which e n title s him to work release, Francis v. Fox, 838 F.2d 1147, 1149 (11 th Cir. 1988), nor does th e Due Process Clause itself create a constitutionally protected interest in work release. K itc h e n v. Upshaw, 286 F.3d 179, 188 (4 th Cir. 2002) (inmate denied permission to p a r tic ip a t e in work release has no constitutionally protected interest in work release because " it is clear that being denied permission to leave jail in order to work is nothing more than a n ordinary experience of inmates."); Asquith v. Department of Corrections, 186 F.3d 407, 4 1 2 (3 rd Cir. 1999) ("Since an inmate is normally incarcerated in prison, [the failure to place 4 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 5 of 8 th e inmate on work release] did not impose atypical and significant hardship on him in re la tio n to the ordinary incidents of prison life and, therefore, did not deprive him of a p ro tec ted liberty interest."); Codd v. Brown, 949 F.2d, 879 (6 th Cir. 1991) (prisoners have no in h e re n t due process interest in work release); see also Dominique v. Weld, 73 F.3d 1156, 1 1 6 0 (1 st Cir. 1996) (inmate summarily removed from work-release program for various p e n o lo g ica l reasons and transferred to a medium security prison after having successfully p a rticip a ted in work release for four years did not possess protected liberty interest in re m a in in g in work release because confinement within the prison walls of medium security p riso n constituted "an `ordinary incident of prison life.' It is not `atypical.'"); Callender v. S io u x City Residential Treatment Facility, 88 F.3d 666, 669 (8 th Cir. 1996) (return of an in m a te to prison after revocation of his work release status imposed neither an atypical nor sign ifica n t deprivation under Sandin because prison is "not atypical of what inmates have to e n d u re in daily prison life."). Based on the foregoing, the court concludes that the plaintiff's assertion of a right to p articipa tio n in the work release program is indisputably meritless and subject to summary d is m is s a l under the directives of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) as Evans alleges "infringement o f a legal interest which clearly does not exist." Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. E. Rehabilitative Programs E v a n s contends that the defendants are violating his constitutional rights because he i s not provided access to rehabilitative programs. An inmate has no constitutionally 5 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 6 of 8 p ro tec ted interest in access to rehabilitative programs as the failure to secure treatment in s u c h programs does not impose "atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484. Thus, Evans again asserts in f rin g e m e n t of a non-existent legal interest and this claim is therefore due to be dismissed a s frivolous pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Neitzke, supra. F. Eighth Amendment Claims E v a n s maintains that his unfavorable classification status and confinement at a c o rre c tio n a l center rather than a community based facility subjects him to cruel and unusual p u n i sh m e n t . These claims are without merit. The Eighth Amendment proscribes those c o n d itio n s of confinement which involve the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain. R h o d e s v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337 (1981). Only actions which deny inmates "the minimal c iv iliz e d measure of life's necessities" are grave enough to violate the Eighth Amendment. Id . at 347; see also Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294 (1991). Neither classification of an inmate in a higher custody level nor his confinement in a more secure correctional facility alleges a sufficiently grave deprivation so as to rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. C o n se q u e n tly, the aforementioned Eighth Amendment claims are due to be dismissed in a c c o rd a n c e with the directives of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). III. CONCLUSION A c c o rd in g ly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that: 1 . The plaintiff's claims with respect to his classification level, confinement at the 6 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 7 of 8 E lm o re Correctional Center, work release placement and access to rehabilitative programs b e dismissed with prejudice prior to service of process pursuant to the provisions of 28 U .S .C . 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii) 2 . The plaintiff's claims against Willie Thomas, Richard Allen and Paul Whaley be s u m m a rily dismissed with under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). 3. Willie Thomas, Richard Allen and Paul Whaley be dismissed as defendants in this c a u se of action. 4 . This case, with respect to the plaintiff's claim against defendant Perkins for his a lle g e d failure to provide a safe work environment, be referred back to the undersigned for a p p ro p ria te proceedings. It is further ORDERED that on or before February 19, 2007 the parties may file objections to this R e c o m m e n d a tio n . Any objections filed must specifically identify the findings in the M a g is tra te Judge's Recommendation to which the party is objecting. Frivolous, conclusive o r general objections will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are advised th a t this Recommendation is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable. F a ilu re to file written objections to the proposed findings and advisements in the M a g is tra te Judge's Recommendation shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the D is tric t Court of issues covered in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from a tt a c k in g on appeal factual findings in the Recommendation accepted or adopted by the 7 Case 2:07-cv-00100-WHA-CSC Document 5 Filed 02/06/2007 Page 8 of 8 D i s t ric t Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. W a in w r ig h t, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1982). See Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 3 3 (11th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981, en b a n c ), adopting as binding precedent all of the decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981. D o n e this 6 th day of February, 2007. /s/Charles S. Coody CHARLES S. COODY C H IE F UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 8

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?