Ahmadi v. Davis et al
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE as barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity and by Heck, and for failure to state a viable claim under section 1983. All pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT. Case terminated on 12/30/2016(Signed by Judge Gray H Miller) Parties notified.(rkonieczny, 4)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
REZA HAGHIGI AHMADI,
WILLIAM STEPHENS, ET AL.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-16-2454
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff, a former state inmate, files this pro se section 1983 lawsuit seeking monetary
damages against William Stephens1 and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (“the
Board”) for the denial of his release to mandatory supervision. The lawsuit will be dismissed
for the reasons that follow.2
The Court reasonably construes plaintiff’s complaint as raising claims against the
defendants for the Board’s denial of his release to mandatory supervision prior to May 2014.
Although plaintiff informs the Court that “On Aug. 19, 2014. [sic] the U.S. District [C]ourt
Western District of Texas Pecos Division invalidated the plaintiff’s sentence” (Docket Entry
No. 1, p. 2), plaintiff blatantly misstates the facts. The district court’s judgment of August
Because plaintiff refers to Stephend as “Director,” the Court presumes that plaintiff intended
to name William Stephens, Director, as a defendant. Plaintiff sues the Director in his official and
personal capacity. (Docket Entry No. 1, p. 20.)
Plaintiff also failed to comply with Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and did
not serve summons on the defendants within 90 days after filing his complaint. See also Rule
4(c)(2). This lawsuit is subject to dismissal under Rule 4(m).
19, 2014, attached to plaintiff’s complaint as Exhibit A, expressly denied and dismissed
plaintiff’s habeas petition. In its written order, also attached to the complaint as Exhibit A,
the district court noted that because plaintiff had been released from incarceration, his habeas
claims had become moot. No rulings on the merits of plaintiff’s claims were made, nor was
plaintiff’s underlying sentence invalidated.
Regardless, plaintiff’s claims for monetary damages against the Board and the
Director in his official capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The Texas Board
of Pardon and Paroles, a division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is cloaked
with Eleventh Amendment immunity. See Voisin’s Oyster House v. Guidry, 799 F.2d 183,
186 (5th Cir. 1986). Moreover, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes that the
Eleventh Amendment bars recovery of money damages under section 1983 from Texas
Department of Criminal Justice officers in their official capacity. Oliver v. Scott, 276 F.3d
736, 742 (5th Cir. 2002). Therefore, plaintiff’s official capacity claims for damages against
the Board and the Director must be dismissed with prejudice.3
Further, no viable section 1983 claim against the Director in his individual capacity
has been pleaded. A supervisory official may be held liable under section 1983 if there is
personal involvement in a constitutional deprivation, a causal connection between the
Although plaintiff states that claims for injunctive relief are not barred by the Eleventh
Amendment, his complaint sets forth no factual allegations giving rise to a claim for prospective
injunctive relief. To the contrary, his claims for judicial relief are expressly limited to recovery of
monetary damages. (Docket Entry No. 1, p. 20–21.)
supervisor’s wrongful conduct and a constitutional deprivation, or if a supervisory official
implements a policy so deficient that the policy itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights
and is the moving force behind the constitutional deprivation. Thompkins v. Belt, 828 F.2d
298 (5th Cir. 1987). Plaintiff has not pleaded factual allegations showing that the Director
was personally involved in a deprivation of plaintiff’s constitutional rights, that wrongful
conduct by the Director was causally connected to a deprivation of plaintiff’s constitutional
rights, or that the Director himself implemented a constitutionally deficient policy which was
the moving cause behind a denial of plaintiff’s constitutional rights.
Even assuming plaintiff were to have alleged facts raising a viable section 1983 claim,
monetary damages would remain barred. To pursue recovery of damages under section 1983
predicated on the alleged wrongful denial of mandatory supervised release, plaintiff must
prove that the challenged sentence or Board decision has been “reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such
determination, or called into question by a federal court’s issuance of a writ of habeas
corpus.” See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486–87 (1994); see also McGrew v. Tex. Bd.
of Pardons & Paroles, 47 F.3d 158, 160–61 (5th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff states that the Board
granted him mandatory supervised release at his annual hearing in May 2014. This
allegation, however, does not establish that the Board’s prior denials of such release (which
form the basis for plaintiff’s claims in this lawsuit) have been set aside for purposes of Heck.
Nor has plaintiff satisfied the requirements of Heck by showing that his earlier section 2254
habeas case was dismissed as moot. Consequently, plaintiff’s claims for monetary damages
in this lawsuit must be dismissed as barred by Heck. See Harris v. Stephens, 647 F. App’x
309, 310 (5th Cir. 2016).
The Court is of the opinion that plaintiff has pleaded his best possible case in his
pending complaint. This lawsuit is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as barred by
Eleventh Amendment immunity and by Heck, and for failure to state a viable claim under
section 1983. All pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT.
Signed at Houston, Texas on December 30, 2016.
Gray H. Miller
United States District Judge
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?