United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
the U.S. Magistrate Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Charles H. Weigle United States Magistrate Judge
Valentino Jackson filed a pro se civil rights
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on September 21, 2015,
alleging that Defendant Demundo wrongly identified or
“validated” Plaintiff as a member of the
Goodfellas (“GFs”) gang and placed Plaintiff in
Tier II of administrative segregation during Plaintiff's
time at Macon State Prison (“MSP”). Doc. 1, p. 8;
Doc. 8, p. 4. Defendant Demundo previously filed a Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 13) alleging that Plaintiff did not have a
liberty interest in being placed in Tier II segregation. Doc.
13, pp. 3-10. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss was denied
(Doc. 18; Doc. 21),  and Defendant Demundo now files a Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. 28) contending that there is no
genuine issue of material fact as to a causal connection
between Defendant's actions and any protected activity.
has filed his own Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. 31. In
his motion, Plaintiff states that “the Court should
deny defendant['s] motion for summary judgment and Grant
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.” Doc.
31-1, p. 6. It is clear that Plaintiff intended for his
Motion for Summary Judgment to be both a dispositive motion
and a response to Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment. Accordingly, the Court construes Plaintiff's
motion as a Motion for Summary Judgment and as a response to
the evidence is insufficient to create a genuine issue of
material fact as to any causal connection between Defendant
Demundo's actions and Plaintiff's alleged
deprivation, it is RECOMMENDED that
Defendant's Motion (Doc. 28) be GRANTED
and that Plaintiff's Motion (Doc. 31) be
Plaintiff has filed two Motions to Appoint Counsel. Docs. 26,
30. No. right to counsel exists in civil rights actions.
Whal v McIver, 773 F.2d 1169, 1174 (11th Cir. 1986);
Hardwick v. Ault, 517 F.2d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1975).
Appointment of counsel is a privilege that is justified only
by exceptional circumstances. Lopez v. Reyes, 692
F.2d 15, 17 (5th Cir. 1982). In deciding whether legal
counsel should be provided, the Court considers, among other
factors, the merits of Plaintiff's claim and the
complexity of the issues presented. Holt v. Ford,
862 F.2d 850, 853 (11th Cir. 1989).
has demonstrated the ability to prosecute his case. He has
set forth the essential factual allegations and applicable
legal doctrines. Plaintiff has succeeded in defending a
Motion to Dismiss and the complexity of the case has not
changed. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motions to Appoint
Counsel (Docs. 26, 30) are DENIED. Plaintiff
is instructed to not file additional requests for counsel as
the Court, on its own motion, will
consider assisting him in securing legal counsel if it
becomes required to avoid prejudice to Plaintiff's
support of his Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant relies
on his statement of facts which includes Defendants'
Declaration (Doc. 28-4 “Def. Decl.”) and
Plaintiff's Deposition (Doc. 28-3 “Pls.
Depo.”). Plaintiff has not filed a statement of facts,
but relies on the allegations in his pleadings. The statement
of facts below is based primarily on Plaintiff's
testimony, along with other undisputed evidence, construed in
the light most favorable to Plaintiff.
testified that he entered the Georgia Department of
Corrections (“GDC”) in April of 2010 at Georgia
Diagnostic and Classification Prison. Pls. Depo. at 13-14.
Plaintiff was later transferred to Hays State Prison, where
he was initially placed in general population. Pls. Depo. at
14-15. In November of 2011, Plaintiff was transferred from
general population to segregation because Plaintiff had been
labeled, or “validated, ” as a member of the
Goodfellas gang. Id. at 15. Plaintiff stayed in
segregation until May of 2012, when he was transferred to
Valdosta State Prison. Id. at 17. Once at Valdosta
State Prison, Plaintiff was allowed to live in general
population for a short period of time, but was moved back to
segregation in August of 2012. Id. at 14, 18.
Plaintiff was informed that he was moved back to segregation
because he was GF gang member, which caused Plaintiff to be a
security threat. Id. at 18.
April of 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to MSP. Id.
at 14. Once Plaintiff arrived at MSP, Plaintiff was placed in
segregation. Id. at 20. Plaintiff remained in
segregation until October of 2013 when Plaintiff was moved
from segregation to the Tier II program. Id. The
CERT officers that moved Plaintiff to Tier II informed
Plaintiff that he was being moved because he was a GF gang
member and a security threat. Id. at 21-22. Since
Plaintiff has been in Tier II, Plaintiff has consistently
received 90-day reviews of his status in Tier II.
Id. at 21-22.
Demundo is the Security Threat Group (“STG”)
coordinator at MSP and is involved in the validation of
whether an inmate belongs to a STG. Def. Decl. ¶¶
4, 5. Plaintiff had been previously validated as a GF before
he arrived at MSP, and Defendant testified that he had no
involvement in Plaintiff's validation. Id. at
¶7. Plaintiff testified that Defendant was never present
during any of his 90-day review hearings. Id. at
¶ 8; Pls. Depo. at 22-23. Plaintiff further testified
that he had “never seen [Defendant]” and that
Plaintiff had never had any interactions with Defendant. Pls.
Depo. at 23.