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McRoberts v. Pvt. Odell

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

February 22, 2017

PVT. ODELL, Defendant.


         Proceeding pro se, inmate-plaintiff Joseph Martin McRoberts brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against one of his jailers - "Pvt. Odell" - for detaining him in "administrative segregation" solely "due to the fact that [McRoberts] threatened to infect another inmate with HIV...." Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff says he does not have HIV, however, and unsuccessfully tried to convince jail officials of that "numerous times" on the jail's inmate-grievance "kiosk machine." Id. "Furthermore, the review process was not done properly, " although "internal affairs finally remedied the situation." Id. Still, he wound up in administrative segregation from July 4, 2014, until June 2015. Id. at 5. Claiming "emotional distress" and violations of his "8th and 14th constitutionally Amended Rights, " id. (unedited), McRoberts seeks money damages, injunctive relief, id. at 6, and appointment of counsel.[1] Doc. 3.

         Plaintiffs "administrative segregation" complaint advances a Due Process claim. Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995), controls:

States may under certain circumstances create liberty interests which are protected by the Due Process Clause. But these interests will be generally limited to freedom from restraint which, while not exceeding the sentence in such an unexpected manner as to give rise to protection by the Due Process Clause of its own force, nonetheless imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.

Id. at 483-84 (cites omitted); see also Magluta v. Samples, 375 F.3d 1269, 1282 (11th Cir. 2004) (recognizing a "new Sandin standard, " under which there is "no liberty interest and no constitutional violation ... if the Sandin 'atypical and significant hardship' standard [is] not met."). Inmate Conner's disciplinary confinement for 30 days was not an atypical or significant hardship in comparison to ordinary conditions his prison system, and it did not inevitably increase the duration his sentence, so it did not implicate a protected liberty interest. Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486 ("We hold that Conner's discipline in segregated confinement did not present the type of atypical, significant deprivation in which a State might conceivably create a liberty interest.").

         In contrast to Conner's case, McRoberts alleges nearly a year in administrative segregation. But he does not claim that it was solitary confinement, much less that it was punitive or atypical. See Williams v. Fountain, 77 F.3d 372, 374 n. 3 (11th Cir. 1996) ("assuming" one year of solitary confinement would constitute a deprivation of liberty under Sandin). Thus, he pleads no actionable Due Process claim.[2] Searcy v. Culliver, 2008 WL 926588 at * 7 (S.D. Ala. Apr. 3, 2008) (three years and five months in segregation not enough) (citing Al-Amin v. Donald, 165 F.Appx. 733, 738 (11th Cir. 2006)); McCoy v. Chatman, 2016 WL 7741737, at *4 (M.D. Ga. July 6, 2016) ("Plaintiffs placement in administrative segregation does not, by itself, give rise to a liberty interest: "the transfer of an inmate to less amenable and more restrictive quarters for non-punitive reasons is well within the terms of confinement ordinarily contemplated by a prison sentence.") (quoting Al-Amin, 165 F.App'x at 738)).

         Finally, McRoberts comes nowhere close to pleading the facts needed to support an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. See Timmons v. Bryson, 2016 WL 4082710 at * 6 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 1, 2016) ("(1) the conduct must be intentional or reckless; (2) the conduct must be extreme and outrageous; (3) there must be a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the emotional distress; and (4) the emotional distress must be severe.") (quotes and cite omitted). And "[n]o Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail, prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury. ..." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), quoted in Floyd v. Sigmon, 2016 WL 3713208 at *3 (N.D.Fla., June 9, 2016). Having alleged no physical injury, McRoberts' emotional distress claim also fails.

         Given its facial frivolity, plaintiffs Complaint must be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE and a re-pleading option is not warranted. Dysart v. BankTrust, 516 F.App'x 861, 865 (11th Cir. 2013) ("[D]istrict court did not err in denying Dysart's request to amend her complaint because an amendment would have been futile."); Langlois v. Traveler's Ins. Co., 401 F.App'x 425, 426-27 (11th Cir. 2010); Simmons v. Edmondson, 225 F.App'x 787, 788-89 (11th Cir. 2007) (district court did not err in dismissing complaint with prejudice without first giving plaintiff leave to amend because no amendment could have overcome the defendants' immunity).[3] His motion to appoint counsel is DENIED. Doc. 3. And because of its frivolity, this case should be recorded as a "strike" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).[4]

         Meanwhile, it is time for plaintiff to pay his $350 filing fee. His furnished account information shows that he has had a $0.00 average monthly balance and $0.00 in monthly deposits in his prison account during the past six months. Doc. 6. He therefore owes no initial partial filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) (requiring an initial fee assessment "when funds exist, " under a specific 20 percent formula). But plaintiffs custodian (or designee) shall set aside 20 percent of all future deposits from his account and forward same to the Clerk each time the set aside amount reaches $10.00, until the balance of the Court's $350.00 filing fee has been paid in full.

         The Clerk is DIRECTED to send this Report and Recommendation (R&R) to McRoberts' account custodian immediately. In the event he is transferred to another institution, plaintiffs present custodian shall forward a copy of this R&R and all financial information concerning payment of the filing fee and costs in this case to plaintiffs new custodian. The balance due from the plaintiff shall be collected by the custodian at his next institution in accordance with the terms of this R&R.

         This R&R is submitted to the district judge assigned to this action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and this Court's Local Rule 72.3. Within 14 days of service, any party may file written objections to this R&R with the Court and serve a copy on all parties. The document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations." Any request for additional time to file objections should be filed with the Clerk for consideration by the assigned district judge.

         After the objections period has ended, the Clerk shall submit this R&R together with any objections to the assigned district judge. The district judge will review the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The parties are advised that failure to timely file objections will result in the waiver of rights on appeal. 11th Cir. R. 3-1; see Symonett v. V.A. Leasing Corp., 648 F.App'x 787, 790 (11th Cir. 2016); Mitchell v. U.S., 612 F.App'x 542, 545 (11th Cir. 2015).



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