United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ELIZABETH M. TIMOTHY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
cause is before the court on Plaintiff's civil rights
complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court may
dismiss this case if satisfied that the action “(i) is
frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). The language in this subsection
“tracks the language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), ” and thus dismissals for failure to state a
claim are governed by the same standard as Rule 12(b)(6).
Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir.
1997). The allegations of the complaint are taken as true and
are construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff.
Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 120 F.3d 1390,
1393 (11th Cir. 1997). To survive § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii),
“a complaint must contain 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quotation and
citation omitted). A claim is plausible on its face where
“the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
(citation omitted). Plausibility means “more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. “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. (quotation and citation omitted).
determination of whether a complaint states a plausible claim
for relief is “a context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(citation omitted). The pleader is not entitled to relief
“where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). The court is
“not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched
as a factual allegation.” Id. at 678
(quotation and citation omitted). And “bare
assertions” that “amount to nothing more than a
formulaic recitation of the elements” of a claim
“are conclusory and not entitled to be assumed
true.” Id. at 681 (quotation and citation
omitted). Stated succinctly:
Pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions,
are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they
must be supported by factual allegations. When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.
Id. at 679. Finally, consistent with the foregoing
precepts, in civil rights cases more than “mere
conclusory notice pleading” is required, and a
complaint is subject to dismissal “as insufficient
where the allegations it contains are vague and
conclusory.” Gonzalez v. Reno, 325 F.3d 1228,
1235 (11th Cir. 2003) (quotation and citation omitted). Upon
review of the Complaint, the court concludes that the facts
set forth by Plaintiff fail to state a claim for relief that
is plausible on its face. Dismissal of this action is
inmate currently housed at Century Correctional Institution
(“CCI”), Plaintiff claims that he was wrongly
found guilty of a disciplinary charge for participating in a
major prison disturbance or riot (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff
asserts his innocence of the charge and complains of various
errors by investigators, including that they did not ask him
questions regarding the events in question, did not allow him
to make any statements on his own behalf, and did not call
the witnesses he requested (id. at 6-8). As relief,
he seeks to have the infraction removed from his file, to
have his lost gain time restored, and monetary damages.
claims are subject to dismissal pursuant to Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d
383 (1994), and its progeny. The Supreme Court has held that
a prisoner in state custody cannot use a Section 1983 action
to challenge “the fact or duration of his
confinement.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.
475, 489, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973); see also
Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 554, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 41
L.Ed.2d 935 (1974).
provided in Preiser, the sole remedy in federal
court for a prisoner seeking to restore good-time credits or
to otherwise shorten the execution of his sentence is through
a writ of habeas corpus. 411 U.S. at 500, 93 S.Ct. at 1841;
see also Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 94 S.Ct.
2963 (1974). By extension of this general principle, the
Supreme Court held in Heck that in order to pursue a
civil rights action for damages based on an unlawful or
invalid conviction or sentence, the litigant must first
prove, through habeas corpus, that the conviction or sentence
has been overturned. See Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87,
114 S.Ct. at 2372. If the civil rights action is brought
prior to the invalidation of the challenged conviction or
sentence, the action must be dismissed as premature.
Id. at 487, 114 S.Ct. at 2372. Then, in Edwards
v. Balisok, the Supreme Court further extended the
holding that Heck, finding that Heck
applies to damages claims brought by a prisoner that would
necessarily imply the invalidity of disciplinary
determinations affecting the duration of time to be served,
even if the prisoner does not explicitly seek to restore his
prison gain time or to otherwise shorten his sentence. 520
U.S. 641, 648, 117 S.Ct. 1584, 137 L.Ed.2d 906 (1997).
instant case, Plaintiff seeks damages, exoneration, and the
restoration of the gain time he lost as a result of the
disciplinary action levied against him for his alleged
participation in the riot. Plaintiff's prayer for lost
gain time obviously seeks relief in the nature of habeas
corpus, and it is clear that he could not succeed on his
claim unless he were able to successfully overturn the
finding of guilt against him, which he cannot accomplish via
a civil rights action.
it respectfully RECOMMENDED:
1. That the complaint be DISMISSED without
prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
2. That this dismissal should be deemed a
“strike” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. §