United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate at Georgia State Prison (“GSP”) in
Reidsville, Georgia, filed this cause of action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants violated his
constitutional rights. For the reasons set forth below, I
RECOMMEND that the Court GRANT Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss, (doc. 34), DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint,
DISMISS AS MOOT all other pending Motions, and DENY Plaintiff
leave to appeal in forma pauperis. I further
RECOMMEND that the Court DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE
March 13, 2014, prison officials at GSP assigned Plaintiff to
the Tier II administrative segregation unit while the Inmate
Affairs Unit and the Georgia Department of Corrections
investigated an assault that occurred while Plaintiff was
incarcerated at Smith State Prison in Glennville, Georgia.
(Doc. 1, p. 2.) Plaintiff states that, although he does not
qualify for Tier II placement under GSP's program
criteria, Defendants are continuing to hold him in Tier II as
punishment for being assaulted at Smith State Prison.
(Id. at p. 3.)
contends that, during his segregation, he has had all his
personal property taken away, lost all his privileges, and
lost nearly thirty pounds. (Doc. 4, p. 2.) Plaintiff claims
that conditions in Tier II are “unacceptably
bad.” (Doc. 1, p. 6.) Specifically, he complains of,
inter alia, poor cell sanitation, inmates throwing
feces, dusty ventilation, insects, excessive noise, poor
showers, “poorly ran recreation, ” and dirty food
August 25, 2016, the Court conducted the requisite frivolity
review and allowed only Plaintiff's due process claims to
proceed. (Docs. 12, 15.) On January 18, 2017, Defendants
filed a Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 34), to which Plaintiff
filed Objections, (doc. 38). On May 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed
additional Objections, (doc. 56), Defendants filed a Reply,
(doc. 59), and Plaintiff filed a Response, (doc. 62).
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must “accept[
] the allegations in the complaint as true and constru[e]
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Belanger v. Salvation Army, 556 F.3d 1153, 1155
(11th Cir. 2009). “A complaint must state a facially
plausible claim for relief, and ‘[a] claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'”
Wooten v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 626 F.3d 1187, 1196
(11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “A pleading that offers labels
and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of
a cause of action” does not suffice. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678.
plausibility standard is not akin to a probability
requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility
that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint
pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.”
Id. (internal punctuation and citation omitted).
While a court must accept all factual allegations in a
complaint as true, this tenet “is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ”
are insufficient. Id.
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects against
State deprivations of “life, liberty, or property
without due process of law.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
“The most familiar office of that Clause is to provide
a guarantee of fair procedure in connection with any
deprivation of life, liberty, or property by a State.”
Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 125
(1992). This is known as the procedural due process component
of the Clause. However, the meaning of “liberty”
under the Due Process Clause has been expanded to include
certain implied, “fundamental rights” that
“cannot be limited at all, except by provisions that
are narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state
interest.” Kerry v. Din___, U.S.__, 135 S.Ct.
2128, 2133 (June 15, 2015) (quotations and citations
omitted). This guarantee is known as the substantive
component of the Due Process Clause.
Procedural Due Process
Section 1983 action alleging a procedural due process
violation requires proof of three elements:
“deprivation of a constitutionally-protected liberty or
property interest; state action; and
constitutionally-inadequate process.” Cryder v.
Oxendine, 24 F.3d 175, 177 (11th Cir. 1994). Plaintiff
does not allege that his due process right to property has
been threatened by his placement in Tier II segregation.
Accordingly, the appropriate due process analysis requires a
look into Plaintiff's liberty interests.
the liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause
included the right “generally to enjoy those privileges
long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly
pursuit of happiness by free men.” Ingraham v.
Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 673 (1977) (citations omitted);
see also Kerry, __ U.S. at___, 135 S.Ct. at 2132-33.
However, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has identified
two situations in which a prisoner-already deprived of
liberty in the traditional sense-can be further deprived of
liberty such that procedural due process protections are
required: (1) when there is a “change in the
prisoner's conditions of confinement so severe that it
essentially exceeds the sentence imposed by the court[
]”; and (2) when the State has consistently given a
benefit to prisoners, usually through a 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.” Kirby v. Siegelman, 195 F.3d 1285, 1291
(11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S.
472, 484 (1995)). Under the first scenario, the liberty
interest arises from the Due Process Clause itself and
“exists apart from the state; in the second, the
liberty interest is created by the state.” Id.
(citing Bass v. Perrin, 170 F.3d 1312, 1318 (11th
Cir. 1999)); see also Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484