HILL v. SELLARS
ORDER ADOPTING 20 Report and Recommendations and GRANTING 15 Motion to Dismiss. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 1/23/2017. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ERIC SELLARS, Warden,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:15-CV-453 (MTT)
Before the Court is Magistrate Judge Charles H. Weigle’s Recommendation to
grant Defendant Warden Eric Sellars Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Jamar Hill’s complaint.
Doc. 20. Neither party has objected to the Recommendation. The Court has reviewed
the Recommendation, and the Court accepts and adopts the findings, conclusions, and
recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. The Recommendation is ADOPTED and
made the order of this Court. Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and
Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim.1
Plaintiff, a prisoner at Hancock State Prison, brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging his confinement in Tier II administrative segregation is a violation of his
due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Construed liberally, as required
for a pro se complaint, Plaintiff fails to allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
Defendant also argued Plaintiff’s Complaint should be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies and for mootness. Doc. 20 at 3-8; 14-15. The Magistrate Judge found the Defendant did not
prove Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and that the complaint was not moot. Id. The
Court agrees and adopts these findings.
is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); see
Saunders v. Duke, 766 F.3d 1262, 1266 (11th Cir. 2014); Alba v. Montford, 517 F.3d
1249, 1252 (11th Cir. 2008) (“[P]ro se pleadings are held to a less strict standard than
pleadings filed by lawyers and thus are construed liberally.”). To state a § 1983 claim
for violation of procedural due process, a plaintiff must prove he has a protected liberty
interest that was violated without adequate process. See Jackson v. Brewton, 595 F.
App’x 939, 942 (11th Cir. 2014); Wallace v. Hamrick, 229 F. App’x 827, 829-831 (11th
As discussed in the Recommendation, prisoners generally have no liberty
interest in a certain prison classification. Kirby v. Siegelman, 195 F. 3d 1285, 1291
(11th Cir.1999). A liberty interest implicating the Fourteenth Amendment only arises in
one of two circumstances: (1) the change in conditions is so severe that it exceeds the
sentence imposed by the court; or (2) “the state has consistently bestowed a certain
benefit to prisoners, usually through statute or administrative policy, and the deprivation
of that benefit ‘imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the
ordinary incidents of prison life.’” Id. (quoting Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484
(1995)). The Plaintiff alleges no facts suggesting the first circumstance is at issue in
this case. In the second circumstance, there must be a comparison between the
challenged conditions and other “typical” conditions in order to determine whether the
state has created a protected liberty interest. See Mathews v. Moss, 506 F. App'x 981,
984 (11th Cir.2013) (noting complaint “did not allege any facts showing (or that could be
liberally construed to show) that [plaintiff] was confined in harsher conditions than
inmates in administrative confinement or close management I status generally”).
As the Magistrate Judge found, Plaintiff alleged no facts about the “ordinary
incidents of prison life” in Hancock State Prison and therefore the Court cannot
determine whether the state has created a liberty interest. See Doc. 1; Kirby, 195 F.3d
at 1291. Plaintiff has also not alleged sufficient facts regarding the challenged
condition—his confinement—to determine if he is subjected to “atypical and significant
hardship . . . in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Id. Moreover, Plaintiff
also fails to allege any procedural defects leading to his initial assignment to Tier II
segregation. See Doc. 1. Plaintiff appears to rely on the GDC policy that assignment to
Tier II should be limited to 24 months to establish both a liberty interest and a
procedural defect. Id. at 5. However, that Plaintiff was held in Tier II administrative
segregation for more than 24 months in violation of GDC Tier II policy does not
establish a due process claim in itself. Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472, 482 (1995)
(“[P]rison regulation[s] [are] primarily designed to guide correctional officials in the
administration of a prison . . . not . . . to confer rights on inmates.”).
The Court ADOPTS the findings and conclusions in the Recommendation.
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief. Accordingly, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss
is GRANTED and Plaintiff’s Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice.
SO ORDERED, this 23rd day of January, 2017.
S/ Marc T. Treadwell
MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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