Robinson v. Alabama Department of Corrections et al (INMATE2)
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Inmate 1983 Complaint filed by Robert Junior Robinson; It is the Recommendation of the Mag Judge that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed prior to service of process pursuant to the provisions of 28 USC 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (iii); Objections to R&R due by 1/26/2009. Signed by Honorable Wallace Capel, Jr on 1/13/09. (vma, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION ____________________________ R O B E R T JUNIOR ROBINSON, # 1 7 1 121 P l a in tif f , v. A L A B A M A DEPARTMENT OF C O R R E C T IO N S , et al., D e f e n d a n ts . ____________________________ * * * * * 2:08-CV-945-MEF (WO)
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE In this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, Plaintiff, a state inmate incarcerated at the Frank Lee Y o u th Center located in Deatsville, Alabama, complains that Defendants failed to place him in an appropriate prison rehabilitative program which impacted his ability to be placed on w o rk release where he could have earned funds to pay off fines. Plaintiff names as
d e f e n d a n t s the Alabama Department of Corrections, Warden Parker, Mrs. Owens, C o m m is s io n e r Richard Allen, Warden Levan Thomas, and Mrs. Hester. He seeks
$ 2 0 ,0 0 0 .0 0 in damages for pain and suffering and "lies on [Defendants'] part." (Doc. No. 1 .) Upon review of the complaint, the court concludes that dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint p rio r to service of process is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).1
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 civil action prior to service of process if it determines that the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from
I. FACTS D u rin g a progress review hearing in June 2008 Plaintiff was informed by Defendant O w e n s that he had been court-ordered to participate in a SAP ["substance abuse program"] p ro g ra m . Plaintiff disputes this maintaining rather that classification personnel and Warden P a rk e r had recommended him for the "ATEF" program. According to the evidence filed in s u p p o rt of Plaintiff's complaint, although he was recommended for community custody, he w a s unable to participate in work release because he refused to participate in the SAP p r o g ra m and did not have enough time left on his sentence to participate in the ATEF p rog ram .2 The court understands Plaintiff to challenge prison personnel's failure to ensure h is placement in an appropriate prison rehabilitative program for purposes of making him e lig ib le for placement on work release where he would have had the ability to earn income a n d pay off fines. (Doc. No. 1 at 2-4 and attachment.) II. DISCUSSION A . The Alabama Department of Corrections T h e Alabama Department of Corrections is not subject to suit or liability under § 1 9 8 3 . The Eleventh Amendment bars suit directly against a state or its agencies, regardless o f the nature of relief sought. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265 (1986); Pennhurst State S c h o o l & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984). Thus, Plaintiff's claims against the
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).
Plaintiff is scheduled for release on February 10, 2009. (See Doc. No. 1 at attachment.)
A D O C are "based on an indisputably meritless legal theory," and are, therefore, subject to d is m is s a l as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 3 1 9 , 327 (1989). B. Respondeat Superior P la in tif f makes no specific allegations against Defendant Allen. To the extent Plaintiff s e e k s to impose liability on this defendant on the basis of respondeat superior, he is entitled to no relief. The law is well settled that a defendant cannot be held liable in an action b ro u g h t pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 under the theory of respondeat superior or on the basis o f vicarious liability. Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-92 (1978); Harris v . Ostrout, 65 F.3d 912, 917 (11 th Cir. 1995); Belcher v. City of Foley, 30 F.3d 1390, 1396 (1 1 th Cir. 1994); LaMarca v. Turner, 995 F.2d 1526, 1538 (11 th Cir. 1993). In light of the f o re g o in g , the court concludes that Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Allen lack an a rg u a b le basis in law and are, therefore, subject to summary dismissal in accordance with the d ire c tiv e s of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. C . Due Process T h e Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States C o n stitu tio n provides that no state "shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property w ith o u t due process of law." Thus, the Constitution is implicated only if a person is deprived o f an interest which is in some way protected by the Due Process Clause. In Sandin v. C o n n e r, 515 U.S. 472 (1995), the Supreme Court abandoned its former methodology for
d eterm ining the existence of a liberty interest. Under such previous case law, a federal court a sc e rta in e d whether a state created a constitutionally protected liberty interest by parsing lan g u a g e of statutes and regulations to determine if the language was "of an unmistakably m a n d a to ry character" placing "substantive limitations on official discretion." Id. at 480. The S a n d i n Court held, however, that federal courts must instead look to the nature of the re stra in t imposed, rather than statutory or regulatory language, to determine if a state created a liberty interest. F o llo w in g Wolff,3 we recognize that States may under certain circumstances c re a te liberty interests which are protected by the Due Process Clause. . . But th e se interests will be generally limited to freedom from restraint which, while n o t exceeding the sentence in such an unexpected manner as to give rise to p ro te c tio n by the Due Process Clause of its own force, . . . nonetheless imposes atyp ical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary in c id e n ts of prison life. 5 1 5 U.S. at 483-484 (1995) (footnote added) (citations omitted). Moreover, the Court s p e c if ic a lly rejected the contention that any action taken by correctional officials as a p u n itiv e measure necessarily encroaches upon a liberty interest protected under the Due P ro c e s s Clause. Id. at 484. H e re , the court understands Plaintiff to argue that the correctional defendants violated h is right to due process by failing to ensure his proper and/or timely participation in r e h a b ilita t i v e prison programs for purposes of making him eligible for work release p la c em e n t. The law is well-settled that an inmate in the Alabama prison system has no state-
Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974).
c re a te d liberty interest which entitles him to participation in favorable prison programs or w o rk release. See Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484; Francis v. Fox, 838 F.2d 1147, 1149 (11 th Cir. 1 9 8 8 ). See also Kitchen v. Upshaw, 286 F.3d 179, 188 (4 th Cir. 2002) (inmate denied p erm issio n to participate in work release has no constitutionally protected interest in work re lea se because "it is clear that being denied permission to leave jail in order to work is n o th in g more than an ordinary experience of inmates."); Codd v. Brown, 949 F.2d, 879 (6 th C ir. 1991) (prisoners have no inherent due process interest in work release). Moreover, an in m a te confined in the Alabama prison system has no constitutionally protected interest in th e procedures affecting a change in his classification level because any resulting restraint, w ith o u t more, does not impose an "atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484. Because Plaintiff's claims re g a rd in g his classification and/or his failure to be placed in rehabilitative prison programs o r work release fail to state a constitutional violation, they are due to be dismissed under the p ro v is io n s of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). III. CONCLUSION A cc o rd in g ly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff's c o m p la in t be DISMISSED prior to service of process pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (iii). It is further ORDERED that on or before January 26, 2009 the parties may file objections to the
R e c o m m e n d a tio n . Any objections filed must clearly identify the findings in the Magistrate J u d g e 's Recommendation to which a party objects. Frivolous, conclusive or general
o b jec tio n s will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are advised that this R e c o m m e n d a tio n 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 tta c k in g on appeal factual findings in the Recommendation accepted or adopted by the D is tric 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 (5 th Cir. 1982). See Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 3 3 (11 th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11 th Cir. 1981) (en b a n c ), adopting as binding precedent all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981. D o n e , this 13 th day of January 2009.
/s / Wallace Capel, Jr. WALLACE CAPEL, JR. U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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