Rucker v. ADDCUI et al
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION. Signed by Judge L Scott Coogler on 10/16/2015. (PSM)
2015 Oct-16 AM 09:29
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SANTRA LAVONNE RUCKER,
ADDUCI, et al.,
Case No. 7:15-cv-00564-LSC-HGD
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
On April 3, 2015, the plaintiff filed a document entitled “Habeas Corpus
Corpus Pursuant to 2241 (Confinement) by Way of Affidavit.” (Doc. 1). In
conjunction with that filing, the plaintiff paid $5.00 as a habeas petition filing fee. At
the time she filed that pleading, and at all relevant times since, the plaintiff has been
a prisoner confined in FCI Aliceville, in Aliceville, Alabama.
Because that initial pleading, which sought only money damages, seemingly
challenged the plaintiff=s conditions of confinement, and not the fact or duration of
her confinement, the pleading was construed as a complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).1 Therefore, on June 26, 2015, the
The Supreme Court held in Bivens that injured plaintiffs can bring a cause of action for
damages against federal officers based on violations of their constitutional rights. 403 U.S. at
389. A Bivens claim is analogous to a ' 1983 claim against a state or local officer. Smith ex rel.
Smith v. Siegelman, 322 F.3d 1290, 1297 n. 15 (11th Cir. 2003). “Because of the similarity in
the causes of action, a Bivens case challenges the constitutionality of federal officials’ conduct,
plaintiff was ordered to either file an application to proceed in forma pauperis or to
pay the filing fees applicable to such a law suit.2 (Doc. 2). Rather than comply
with that Order, the plaintiff filed documents styled as “Judicial Notice 201 and
Letter of Inquiry Accompanied by Memorandum of Law” (doc. 3) and “Objection to
Deficient Notice Served to Plaintiff US Magistrate Judge Harwell G. Davis, III”
(doc. 4). The plaintiff also filed a “Notice of Filing Writ of Right or Writ of
Mandamus in the matter of Case Number 7:15-CV-0056-LSC-HGD.” 3 (Doc. 5).
In considering this collection of pleadings, the magistrate judge found that the
plaintiff challenged her custody classification 4 and that the plaintiff argued that the
while ' 1983 challenges the constitutionality of state officials’ conduct, [courts] generally apply
' 1983 law to Bivens cases.” Wilson v. Blankenship, 163 F.3d 1284, 1288 (11th Cir. 1998)
(quotation omitted) (alteration added).
That pleading contained language such as, “That I (Rucker) am standing in my unlimited
commercial liability as a Secured Party Creditor & request that the officers of this court do the
same” (doc. 1 at 1), and that “Petitioner has one valid consensual contract with each of the above
named Federal Officials.” (Doc. 1, at 5). Because of this court’s obligation to construe
liberally pro se pleadings, the magistrate judge searched that 45 page document to find any claim
upon which relief could be granted.
The plaintiff stresses in these pleadings that she is bringing an action under Bivens and
not filing an action pursuant to ' 1983. (See e.g., doc. 8 at 1-2). The court, in fact,
specifically construed the plaintiff’s claims as brought pursuant to Bivens, despite her insistence
in her original pleading that “THIS DOCUMENT/ PETITION/PLEADING IS CLEARLY
TITLED UNDER ‘TITLE OF DOCUMENT’ AS HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO
2241-CIVIL ACTION, PLEASE DO NOT RECHARACTERIZE OR RENAME (CHANGE)
THIS 2241 INTO A BIVENS ACTION . . .” (Doc. 1 at 1).
The plaintiff alleged in her first pleading that “On or about September 3, 2014, Petitioner,
was informed by Case Manager Burks/Hudson (Respondent) that the Designation & Sentence
Computation Center ‘Team Foxtrot’ denied your camp transfer . . .” (Doc. 1 at 3). The plaintiff
alleged this occurred without due process and thus she began the mandatory grievance procedure.
court should allow her to submit a new complaint. (Doc. 6). That Order also noted
that the plaintiff had submitted approximately 60 pages, mainly consisting of legal
rhetoric, in violation of Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(Id., at 2). 5 The Order continued
. . . the court shall allow the plaintiff one further opportunity to comply
with the court’s order to submit an application to proceed in forma
She asserted that the camp transfer had been approved prior to the time it was denied. (Id.). In
her “first cause of action” for “trespass against rights,” the plaintiff asserted that the forms
concerning her transfer should have been in her case file, and that she was deprived due process
when the transfer was denied with no right of appeal. (Id., at 4). In her “Direct Attack against
Order,” filed August 28, 2015, the plaintiff asserted she was not challenging that she was denied a
transfer. (Doc. 8, at 3). However, the “Complaint pursuant to ' 1331” attached to that document
RUCKER’s constitutional rights “were knowingly violated”, because she was not
given a chance to appeal the camp denial and placement of a (2) year greater
security management variable, and was not allotted full disclosure of reason and
justification of the denied under Due Process...
(Doc. 8 at 19) (grammatical errors in original).
No constitutional right to be housed in a specific prison exists. See e.g., Olim v.
Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245-46 (1983). Because there is no liberty interest in a transfer to a
particular prison, there can be no violation of due process in not receiving that transfer. Green v.
Warden, FCI Englewood, Col., 936 F.2d 582, *2 (10th Cir. 1991) (unpublished). See also
Rutherford v. Bureau of Prisons, 2014 WL 4388257, *4 (E.D.Ky. 2014) (“even if the BOP failed
to adhere to its own regulations regarding prison placement, that failure would not implicate
constitutional protections.”); White v. Berkbile, 2011 WL 1868973, *5 (E.D.Ky. 2011)
(“regardless of whether White files a Bivens civil rights action or a ' 2241 petition, it is
well-settled that prison classifications, assignments, and transfers are functions wholly within the
discretion of the BOP”). Federal prisoners have no due process rights in their classification while
incarcerated. Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976). No Fourteenth Amendment
interest is implicated in a transfer to a less agreeable prison. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225
(1976); Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242 (1976).
The complaint and supplemental documents also bring multiple unrelated claims in
violation of Rules 18(a) and 20(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
pauperis or to pay the filing fee of $350 and administrative fee of $50.
The plaintiff also will be afforded the opportunity to submit an
(Id., at 2-3).
Specific instructions on how to accomplish the foregoing were
included, as were the forms necessary for compliance. The plaintiff was further
warned that failure to comply with the order may result in the dismissal of her action
without further notice. (Id., at 4).
Rather than file an amended complaint and an application to proceed in forma
pauperis or pay the filing fee,
the plaintiff filed a document styled as
“Santra-Lavonne: Rucker as Relator on/for Santra Lavonne Rucker (Plaintiff) v. US
Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis III” and titled “Memorandum in Opposition of
Order (8/2/15) & Memo in Support of Answer & Objections for Direct Attack
against Illegal Order Commenced by US Magistrates (sic) Judge.” (Doc. 7). The
plaintiff also filed a 23-page document, similarly styled, titled “Answer and
Objections for ‘Direct Attack’ Against ‘Order’ Commenced by US Magistrate Judge
. . .” (Doc. 8).7 In this pleading, the plaintiff asserts that she does not need to
All parties instituting any civil action in a district court must pay a filing fee. 28 U.S.C. '
1914(a). An action may proceed despite a plaintiff=s failure to prepay the entire fee only if the
plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(a). This
plaintiff’s failure to do either is fatal to her claims.
Attached to that document are a variety of forms, copies and hand written notes, including
forms not provided or used by this court. The plaintiff sent a signed form in which she opted not
to have her case tried by a United States Magistrate Judge (doc. 8 at 5); “Instructions for Filing a
comply with the prior orders of the court because “no Amend was needed because
the errors were on part of US Magistrate Judge, not this Plaintiff. The Court fails to
recognize these legal documents as ‘Supplements or Amended Pleading’ without
justification.” (Doc. 8 at 2) (grammatical errors in original). The plaintiff then
objects to the court calling her filings “documents” rather than “pleadings.” (Id.).
A lawsuit is frivolous if it is without arguable merit either in law or fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346, 1349
(11th Cir. 2001); Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993) (a case is
frivolous when it appears that the plaintiff has little or no chance of success). Under
' 1915A, a district court shall review, as soon as possible, a prisoner’s complaint in a
civil action against a government entity or employee of a governmental entity. See
28 U.S.C. ' 1915A(a). The district court must dismiss the complaint if it is
“frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”
28 U.S.C. ' 1915A(b)(1).
Civil Action for Violation of Civil Rights” which references the Northern District of West Virginia
(doc. 8 at 6); a “Civil Cover Sheet” in which the causes of action are listed as “trespass against
rights,” “breach of contract,” “malfeasance of office,” and “fraud” (doc 8 at 7); a “Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1331” (doc. 8 at 10-13, 16-21), and a form complaint interspersed with the
“Complaint pursuant to ' 1331,” utilizing a form not provided by this court (doc. 8 at 8-9, 14-15,
20). Finally, attached is a portion of the Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis provided by
this court. (Doc. 8 at 22).
A claim is frivolous as a matter of law where, inter alia, the claim seeks to
enforce a right which clearly does not exist. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327 (ruling that a
claim that a transfer within the institution violated due process rights was within this
category). Judges are accorded “not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on
an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil
of the complaint’s factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Id. Although courts must grant leniency to a pro
se plaintiff, the same does not give the court “license to serve as de facto counsel for
a party . . . , or to re-write an otherwise deficient pleading in order to sustain an
action . . . . ” See GJR Investments, Inc. v. County of Escambia, Fla., 132 F.3d
1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted).
The plaintiff’s filings, individually and collectively, are utterly frivolous and
devoid of the slightest legal merit. In addition to her baseless due process claim, the
plaintiff’s pleadings randomly borrow language from the Uniform Commercial
Code, which bestows no benefits on prisoners nor provides any source of federal
constitutional rights, and further claim breach of contract, although the plaintiff also
has no contract with any federal official by virtue of her incarceration in a federal
prison. The plaintiff has been provided multiple opportunities to file a complaint
under Bivens which sets forth a short and plain statement of a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Rather than do so, the plaintiff has filed multiple documents
with no support in law which assert non-existent causes of action, while refusing to
either pay the required filing fee or submit a properly completed application to
proceed in forma pauperis. Dismissal is appropriate when the complaint, on its
face, does not state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
The plaintiff has been repeatedly informed of the deficiencies in her
pleadings, has been given two opportunities to submit the documents necessary to
commence an action pursuant to Bivens, and has been warned of the consequences
of failing to do so. Accordingly, the court finds that this action is due to be
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, based upon the plaintiff’s failure to comply with prior
orders of the court.8 A separate order will be entered accordingly.
The Clerk is DIRECTED to serve a copy of this order upon the plaintiff.
Rule 41(b) has been interpreted as conferring power upon district courts to sua sponte
dismiss cases in order Ato prevent undue delays in the disposition of pending cases and to avoid
congestion in the calendars of [the courts].@ Brutus v. Internal Revenue Service, 393 Fed.Appx.
682, 683-84 (11th Cir. 2010).
DONE and ORDERED on October 16, 2015.
L. Scott Coogler
United States District Judge
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