United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ORDER DISMISSING RECAST COMPLAINT WITHOUT
E. SELF, III, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Robert Lance Nash, an inmate in the Houston County Detention
Center in Perry, Georgia, filed a pro se complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff also moved
for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee or
security therefor pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
[Docs. 2, 5]. After due consideration, the United States
Magistrate Judge granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
finding that Plaintiff's complaint, as drafted, failed to
state a claim for relief, the Magistrate Judge ordered
Plaintiff to recast his statement of claims. Plaintiff has
now filed a recast complaint, which is ripe for preliminary
review. [Doc. 7]. On preliminary review of Plaintiff's
recast complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff's recast
complaint also fails to state a claim for relief.
Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES
Plaintiff's complaint WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Standard of Review
Plaintiff is a prisoner “seeking redress from a
governmental entity or [an] officer or employee of a
governmental entity, ” the Court is required to conduct
a preliminary review of Plaintiff's Complaint.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) (requiring the
screening of prisoner cases) & 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
(regarding in forma pauperis proceedings). When
performing this review, the district court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true. Brown v.
Johnson, 7 F.3d 1344');">387 F.3d 1344, 1347 (11th Cir. 2004). The Court
also holds pro se pleadings “to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys,
” and thus, the Court “liberally construe[s]
pro se claims.” Tannenbaum v. United
States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998). Still, the
Court must dismiss a prisoner complaint if it “(1) is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact.” Miller v. Donald, 541 F.3d
1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks
omitted). On this basis, the Court will dismiss claims that
are based on “indisputably meritless legal”
theories and “claims whose factual contentions are
clearly baseless.” Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does
not include “sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations in a
complaint “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level” and cannot “merely
create a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of
action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (first
alteration in original). In other words, the
complaint must allege enough facts “to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence” supporting a claim. Id. at 556.
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
state a claim for relief under Section 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that (1) an act or omission deprived him of a right,
privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or a
statute of the United States; and (2) a person acting under
color of state law committed the act or omission. Hale v.
Tallapoosa Cty., 79');">50 F.3d 1579, 1582 (11th Cir. 1995). If
a litigant cannot satisfy these requirements or fails to
provide factual allegations in support of his claim or
claims, the complaint is subject to dismissal. See
Chappell v. Rich, 79');">340 F.3d 1279, 1282-84 (11th Cir.
Plaintiff's Recast Complaint
the original complaint, Plaintiff's allegations in the
recast complaint are somewhat minimal, but the basis of his
recast complaint is that, after a small group of prisoners
were involved in a fight, administrators placed all of the
inmates on lockdown as punishment. [Doc. 7, p. 5]. Plaintiff
asserts that this punishment violated his Thirteenth
Amendment right to be free from slavery, his Fourteenth
Amendment right to due process, and his Eighth Amendment
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery and involuntary
servitude, except as punishment for a crime for which the
party has been duly convicted. U.S. Const. Amend. XIII. In
the recast complaint, Plaintiff has not set forth any facts
explaining how being placed on lockdown could be considered
slavery or involuntary servitude. Moreover, even if Plaintiff
was arguing that he was being forced to work without pay, the
Eleventh Circuit has held that the Thirteenth Amendment does
not apply to a prisoner who is forced to work by prison
regulations or state statutes after having been convicted of
a crime and sentenced to imprisonment. Omasta v.
Wainwright, 696 F.2d 1304, 1305 (11th Cir. 1983). Thus,
Plaintiff has not stated a Thirteenth Amendment claim.
Plaintiff's right to due process under the Fourteenth
Amendment, Plaintiff has again alleged no facts suggesting
that the conditions of the lockdown were such that Defendant
Sheriff Cullen Talton violated Plaintiff's rights. In
particular, to state a claim for a denial of due process
based on prison sanctions, an inmate must allege facts
showing that the sanctions constitute an “atypical and
significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the
ordinary incidents of prison life.” See Sandin v.
Conner, 72');">515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995). Here, Plaintiff has
not alleged any facts with regard to the nature of the
lockdown, how the conditions of lockdown differed from
ordinary prison life, or how long the inmates were held on
lockdown. In the absence of such allegations, Plaintiff
cannot state a due process claim based on his placement in
lockdown. See id.
an Eighth Amendment claim generally involves “the
wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain.” Rhodes
v. Chapman, 7');">452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). Moreover, a prison
security measure undertaken to control a disturbance
generally does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment
violation unless officials acted in bad faith and for no
legitimate purpose. See also Whitley v. Albers, 475
U.S. 312, 321-22 (1986). In the recast complaint, Plaintiff
makes no allegations to show that the lockdown involved any
infliction of pain at all, much less a wanton and unnecessary
infliction of pain. Moreover, although Plaintiff asserts that
he was not involved in the fight that led to the lockdown,
his allegations do not suggest that Talton imposed the
lockdown in bad faith or for no legitimate purpose. Thus,
Plaintiff also has not stated a claim for an Eighth Amendment
for the reasons discussed above, Plaintiff has not stated a
claim upon which relief may be granted. Accordingly, his
complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for
failure to state a claim.