Washington v. Collier et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Email sent to Manager of Three Strikes List. (Signed by Judge Nancy F Atlas) Parties notified.(sashabranner, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
IBUKUN OLUWA WASHINGTON,
BRIAN COLLIER, et al.,
September 27, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-17-2129
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
The plaintiff, Ibukun Oluwa Washington (TDCJ #1941101), is a state inmate
in custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Correctional Institutions
Division (“TDCJ”). Washington has filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
concerning the conditions of his confinement. Because he is incarcerated, the Court
is required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) to scrutinize the pleadings
and dismiss this case if it if frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After reviewing all of the pleadings
as required, the Court concludes that this case must be dismissed for reasons that
Washington is currently incarcerated at a prison facility in Dalhart, Texas.1
Washington sues three prison officials or administrators who are employed by TDCJ
in Huntsville, including: (1) TDCJ Executive Director Brian Collier; (2) Correctional
Institutions Division Director Lorie Davis; and (3) a “Jane Doe” defendant who is
described as “Head Manager of the Inmate Trust Fund.”2
Washington has provided a detailed chronology of his claim, which concerns
money that was taken from his inmate trust fund account.3 On June 28, 2016,
Washington sent an I-60 official request form to the Inmate Trust Fund in Huntsville
because his trust fund account statement showed a balance of $32.78, but the unit
commissary showed a balance of $0.00.4 Eventually, Washington was advised that
there was a “hold” on his account in the amount of $32.78 for “E-comm products” that
were purchased on his behalf by someone named “V. Mulligan,” who had contacted
the prison and wanted her money back.5 Washington maintains that he does not know
Complaint [Doc. # 1], at 3.
Statement of Claim [Doc. # 1], at 5-7.
Id. at 5.
Id. at 5-6. “E-Comm” refers to an online program known as eCommDirect that allows
friends and family members to make purchases from the prison commissary on behalf of
any V. Mulligan, or received any commissary products from her, and that the hold has
prevented him from making purchases from the commissary on his own behalf.6
Alleging that $32.78 has been wrongfully taken from his inmate trust fund account
without due process, Washington seeks compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages
from the defendants.7
Washington contends that $32.78 was “stolen” from his inmate trust fund
account and he accuses the defendants of “theft.”8 “A prisoner has a protected
property interest in the funds in his prison account.” Rosin v. Thaler, 417 F. App’x
432, 434 (5th Cir. 2011) (per curiam). The Fourteenth Amendment protects against
the deprivation of one’s property by state actors without due process of law. See
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 536-37 (1981), overruled on other grounds by
Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986). To the extent that Washington
blames the defendants for the theft of funds from his inmate trust account, the
eligible inmates. See “e-CommDirect - Offender Commissary Purchases,” available at:
http://www.tdcj.texas.gov/faq/faq_ecomm.html (last visited September 26, 2017).
Statement of Claim [Doc. # 1], at 5-6.
Id. at 6-7.
I-60 Official Request Form dated August 4, 2016 [Doc. # 1-1], at 9; Step One
Grievance #2017000100 [Doc. # 1-1], at 14.
Supreme Court has held that a negligent, or even intentional, deprivation of property
by state officials that is random and unauthorized does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation or an actionable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if state law
provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517,
Texas provides a remedy for inmates whose property has been taken in an
unauthorized manner. See Myers v. Klevenhagen, 97 F.3d 91, 95 (5th Cir. 1996);
Marshall v. Norwood, 741 F.2d 761, 764 (5th Cir. 1984); Aguilar v. Chastain, 923
S.W.2d 740, 743-44 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996); see also TEX. GOV’T CODE §§ 501.007,
Because Texas provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy,
Washington’s claim that his funds were wrongfully taken has no basis in federal law.
See Murphy v. Collins, 26 F.3d 541, 543-44 (5th Cir. 1994). Accordingly, the
complaint will be dismissed as legally frivolous. See id.; see also Nelson v. Director,
Texas Dep’t of Crim. Justice, 124 F. App’x 897, 898, 2005 WL 673367 (5th Cir.
2005) (unpublished) (holding that the both the civil rights lawsuit and appeal from
dismissal of a prisoner’s suit seeking compensatory damages for loss of personal
property were “frivolous”).
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Based on the foregoing, the Court ORDERS as follows:
The plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED with prejudice as legally
The dismissal will count as a STRIKE for purposes of 28 U.S.C.
The Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this order to the plaintiff. The
Clerk shall also provide a copy of this order by regular mail, facsimile
transmission, or e-mail to (1) the TDCJ - Office of the General Counsel, P.O. Box
13084, Austin, Texas, 78711, fax: (512) 936-2159; and (2) the Three Strikes List
SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on September 27, 2017.
NANCY F. ATLAS
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
NAN Y F. ATLAS
STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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