Raines v. Monroe et al
ORDER ADOPTING MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS ACTION re: 32 Memorandum and Recommendations (Signed by Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos) Parties notified.(amireles, 2)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
CORPUS CHRISTI DIVISION
C. MONROE, et al,
§ CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:14-CV-69
ORDER ADOPTING MEMORANDUM
AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS ACTION
Pending before the Court are Plaintiff Dalawrence Raines’ claims in consolidated
actions Nos. 2:14-cv-00069 and 2:14-cv-00188, as explained in his complaints and in the
Spears hearing held on June 17, 2014. On July 11, 2014, United States Magistrate Judge
Jason B. Libby issued a Memorandum and Recommendation (D.E. 32), recommending
that Plaintiff’s action be dismissed. Plaintiff timely filed his objections (D.E. 33, 34) on
July 18, 2014 and July 23, 2014.
Plaintiff first objects to the consolidation of his actions.
He fought the
consolidation, seeking instead to dismiss 2:14-cv-00069 and proceed only under 2:14-cv00188. In his objections, he admits that the two actions concern the same events and the
same claims. Because the consolidation of the actions preserves all of his claims and is
nothing more than an administrative measure to increase court efficiency, it does not
prejudice his claims. While the consolidated case bears the first filed case number, it
includes all of the claims and materials set out in the second case. His first objection is
Second, Plaintiff objects to the finding that he failed to state a claim and he
restates his allegations regarding the conduct of the Defendants.
Plaintiff fails to
appreciate the distinction between “making a claim” and “making a claim upon which
relief may be granted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” The Magistrate Judge understood
how Plaintiff believes he was wronged, but recommends dismissal because the
complaints cannot be remedied under § 1983 of the Civil Rights Act.
Plaintiff’s allegations can be categorized as follows:
A. He was denied due process in the disciplinary proceeding because he
was tricked into not appearing in his own defense, the charges were
falsified, his counsel substitute was ineffective, and witnesses were
available to exonerate him but were not included in any investigation or
B. He was denied due process because his resulting grievances were
perfunctorily denied without proper investigation;
C. He lost commissary, recreation, and visitation privileges, and his line
class status was reduced; and
D. He lost liberty rights with respect to good time credits.
In the context of disciplinary proceedings, a prisoner's rights, if any, are governed
by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. See Wolf v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 557 (1974). Prisoners charged with
institutional rules violations are entitled to rights under the Due Process Clause only
when the disciplinary action may result in a sanction that will infringe upon a
constitutionally protected liberty interest. See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995).
Thus the Court does not evaluate the process afforded to the prisoner unless the sanction
imposed rises to a constitutional level. Therefore, this Court will not address Plaintiff’s
allegations set forth in A above unless the Court finds the sanctions imposed implicate
The handling of a grievance is not subject to federal review because a grievance
system is not constitutionally mandated. Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor
Union, 433 U.S. 119, 138 (1977) (Burger, C.J., concurring); Geiger v. Jowers, 404 F.3d
371, 373-74 (5th Cir. 2005). Therefore, this Court will not address Plaintiff’s allegation
set forth in B above.
It is well-settled that the loss of a privilege does not implicate a constitutionally
protected liberty interest because it generally does not exceed the typical deprivations of
incarceration. Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486; Madison v. Parker, 104 F.3d 765, 768 (5th Cir.
1997) (commissary); Berry v. Brady, 192 F.3d 504, 508 (5th Cir. 1999) (visitation);
Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 & n.1 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam) (visitation,
recreation, commissary); Malchi v. Thaler, 211 F.3d 953, 959 (5th Cir. 2000)
(distinguishing line class or time-earning status from already earned good time credits,
and holding that time-earning status is not a constitutionally protected liberty interest);
Luken v. Scott, 71 F.3d 192, 193 (5th Cir. 1995) (same). Therefore, Plaintiff fails to state
a claim regarding the loss of privileges and the reduction in his line class status.
The loss of earned good time credits is a matter of constitutional proportions in
that revocation of such credits has been held to constitute a denial of a liberty interest.
Madison, 104 F.3d at 768.
However, the Magistrate Judge correctly observed that
Plaintiff’s claim for damages based upon the denial of good time credits is not available
under § 1983 because the claim concerns the duration of his confinement and must be
raised in a federal habeas corpus action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Because Plaintiff fails
to state a claim under § 1983, his second objection is OVERRULED.
Having reviewed the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations
set forth in the Magistrate Judge’s Memorandum and Recommendation, as well as
Plaintiff’s objections, and all other relevant documents in the record, and having made a
de novo disposition of the portions of the Magistrate Judge’s Memorandum and
OVERRULES Plaintiff’s objections and ADOPTS as its own the findings and
conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s § 1983 complaints in this
consolidated action are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; Plaintiff’s complaints, to the
extent that they are appropriate as habeas corpus claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, are
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
ORDERED this 19th day of August, 2014.
NELVA GONZALES RAMOS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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