United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division
LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
accordance with the Court's previous orders and
instructions, pro se Plaintiff Robert Ivan Mask, an
inmate presently incarcerated at the United States
Penitentiary in Lompoc, California, has paid the required
initial partial filing fee. A review of Plaintiff's
claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A,
however, reveals that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted with respect his claims
against Defendants. This action is therefore
DISMISSED without prejudice.
Standard of Review
accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), the district courts are obligated to
conduct a preliminary screening of every complaint filed by a
prisoner who seeks redress from a government entity,
official, or employee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). Screening is also required under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e) when the plaintiff is proceeding IFP. Both statutes
apply in this case, and the standard of review is the same.
When conducting preliminary screening, the Court must accept
all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Boxer X
v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006);
Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1159-60 (11th Cir.
2003). Pro se pleadings, like the one in this case,
are “held to a less stringent standard than pleadings
drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally
construed.” Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted). 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. §1915A(b).
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). The Court may 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.
state a claim for relief under § 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) the act or omission was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
Hale v. Tallapoosa Cnty., 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, 340 F.3d 1279, 1282-84 (11th
Factual Allegations and Plaintiff's Claims
claims arise from his March 17, 2018 arrest in Brooks County,
Georgia. Compl. 5, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that on that
date, he was pulled over by a Brooks County Sheriff's
Department deputy and detained. Id. Deputies
searched Plaintiff's vehicle, a rental car, and found
“drug related items.” Id. Plaintiff was
therefore arrested and transported to the Brooks County
Sheriff's Office. Id. Plaintiff states that his
“vehicle was inventoried and turned over to [Defendant]
Troupville Wrecker service.” Id. At the time
Plaintiff left the scene, he avers that “[t]here was no
reported damage to [his] vehicle.” See Id.
After the vehicle was impounded, however, “severe
damage occurred” to the rental vehicle's headliner,
carpet, and door panels, among other things. Id. at
6. Plaintiff was charged $1667.00 for this damage.
Id. In addition, Plaintiff states that while he was
at the Brooks County Sheriff's Department, deputies
seized his personal property including his wallet, clothes,
and phone as well as $1416.00 in cash, jewelry valued at $12,
000.00, and “over $7500.00 worth of newly purchased
property.” Id. Plaintiff states the majority
of this property was not returned to him; he received only
his “empty wallet and a few small pieces of
jewelry.” Id. Plaintiff contends that
Defendants violated his constitutional rights by improperly
seizing and/or damaging his property. As a result of these
alleged constitutional violations, Plaintiff seeks “the
return of these items and/or reimbursement in the amount of
$25, 000.00.” Id. at 7.
attempts to raise a due process claim in this action.
See Compl. 6, ECF No. 1 (“My 5th and 14th
amendment right to due process of law have been
violated.”). But “an unauthorized intentional
deprivation of property by a state employee does not
constitute a violation of the procedural requirements of the
Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if a
meaningful postdeprivation remedy for the loss is
available.” Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517,
533 (1984). “Georgia provides a civil cause of action
for the wrongful conversion of personal property.”
Moore v. McLaughlin, 569 Fed.Appx. 656, 658 (11th
Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (citing O.C.G.A. § 51-10-1). The
Eleventh Circuit has “held that this cause of action
constitutes a suitable postdeprivation remedy for procedural
due process violations.” Id.; see also
Mines v. Barber, 610 Fed.Appx. 838, 840 (11th Cir. 2015)
(per curiam). Plaintiff has not alleged that he has attempted
to pursue a civil action based on Defendants' actions or
that such a remedy is not available to him. Thus, any claims
regarding the seizure of or damage to Plaintiff's
personal property must be DISMISSED without
foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's Complaint, as pleaded,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants are
DISMISSED without prejudice.