United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MICHAEL J. FRANK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pro se civil rights action is before the court for
preliminary screening of Plaintiff's complaint under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. From a review of
the complaint, it is evident that the facts as presented fail
to state a facially plausible claim for relief against the
named Defendants and that any amendment of the complaint
would be futile. Therefore, the undersigned respectfully
recommends that this action be dismissed.
filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff alleges violation of his right to due
process. Plaintiff names four defendants: (1) Christopher
Brannon; (2) Glenn Hancock; (3) Lisa Coachman; and (4)
Lateisha Salters. (Doc. 1 at pp. 5-6). Plaintiff alleges that
on April 2, 2019, Plaintiff had a psychological episode where
he took his clothes off in the bedding area of his dorm.
Correctional officers removed Plaintiff from the dorm and
placed him in administrative confinement pending disciplinary
resolution. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 9, 10, 14).
alleges that Defendant Salters issued a disciplinary report
charging Plaintiff with “Lewd and Lascivious
Exhibition.” (Id. at ¶ 15). According to
Plaintiff, Salters falsified statements in the report,
including that she was present in the dorm and the Plaintiff
was acting in a sexual manner. Plaintiff purportedly
requested that the investigating officer look at the camera
footage from the bedding area security camera because the
video footage would demonstrate the falsity of Salters's
report. (Id. at ¶ 18).
further alleges that, at the disciplinary hearing, Defendant
Coachman advised Plaintiff that the camera footage did not
support his claims,  and Coachman found Plaintiff guilty of the
charge. (Id. at ¶ 20). Additionally, Plaintiff
alleges that Coachman did not consider Plaintiff's
statements in making the disciplinary decision. (Doc.1 at
¶ 30). Plaintiff was sentenced to sixty days confinement
and 30 days loss of gain time. Plaintiff appealed this
decision to Defendants Brannon and Handcock, who denied
Plaintiff's appeal. Plaintiff also alleges that
disciplinary decision was not supported by the evidence and
that he did not receive a written report setting forth the
evidence on which the hearing team relied in finding
Plaintiff guilty. As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
Plaintiff is a prisoner, the court is required to review his
complaint, identify cognizable claims and dismiss the
complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint
“(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(a)-(b); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (applying the same
standard to in forma pauperis proceedings).
Dismissals for failure to state a claim are governed by the
Rule 12(b)(6) standard. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6); Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1485
(11th Cir. 1997). The court accepts all well-pleaded factual
allegations of the complaint as true and evaluates all
reasonable inferences derived from those facts in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Hunnings v. Texaco,
Inc., 29 F.3d 1480, 1483 (11th Cir. 1994). To survive
dismissal, “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)
(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)).
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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at
1949. The mere possibility that the defendant acted
unlawfully is insufficient. Id.; see also 5
C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 1216, pp. 235-36 (3d ed. 2004) (“[T]he pleading
must contain something more . . . than . . . a statement of
facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally
cognizable right of action”). The complaint's
factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level . . . .”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1965; see
also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949
(reiterating that although Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure does not require detailed factual
allegations, it demands “more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.”). A
complaint may also be dismissed for failure to state a claim
“when its allegations, on their face, show that an
affirmative defense bars recovery on the claim.”
Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352, 1357 (11th Cir.
2003); see also Marsh v. Butler Cty., Ala., 268 F.3d
1014, 1022 (11th Cir. 2001); Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S.
199, 215, 127 S.C. 910, 920-21 (2007) (reiterating that
Process Clause protects against deprivations of “life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law.” U.S.
Const. amend. XIV, § 1. To state a claim for a violation
of procedural due process, a prisoner must show there was
“(1) a deprivation of a constitutionally-protected
liberty or property interest; (2) state action; and (3)
constitutionally inadequate process.” Cryder v.
Oxendine, 24 F.3d 175, 177 (11th Cir. 1994).
Plaintiff alleges that he was deprived of liberty and good
time credits. “The deprivation of good time is
unquestionably a matter of considerable importance” and
the state must afford an inmate due process before depriving
an inmate of good time. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539, 561, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 2977 (1974); O'Bryant v.
Finch, 637 F.3d 1207, 1213 (11th Cir. 2011). When a
prison disciplinary hearing may result in the loss of good
time credits, an inmate must receive: (1) written notice of
the charges brought against him at least twenty-four hours
before the hearing; (2) an opportunity, when consistent with
institutional safety and correctional goals, to call
witnesses and present documentary evidence in his defense;
and (3) a written statement of the factfinder as to the
evidence relied upon and the reasons for the disciplinary
action taken. Wolff, 418 U.S. at 564-65, 94 S.Ct. at
2978-79; O'Bryant, 637 F.3d at 1213; Young
v. Jones, 37 F.3d 1457, 1459-60 (11th Cir. 1994);
Battle v. Barton, 970 F.2d 779, 782 (11th Cir.
due process violations are cognizable under a section 1983
claim, however. 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, 500, 93
S.Ct. 1827, 1481 (1973); see also Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 554, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 2973
(1974). In Heck v. Humphrey and its progeny, the
Supreme Court extended this rationale and held that “a
state prisoner may not maintain an action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 if the direct or indirect effect of granting
relief would be to invalidate the state sentence he is
serving.” Harden v. Pataki, 320 F.3d 1289,
1295 (11th Cir. 2003) (citing Spencer v. Kemna, 523
U.S. 1, 21, 118 S.Ct. 978, 990 (1998) (Ginsburg, J.
concurring)); see Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 2372 (1994) (holding that in order to
pursue a civil rights action for damages based on an unlawful
or invalid conviction or sentence, the litigant must first
establish that the conviction or sentence has been
Edwards, the Supreme Court further extended this
principle to claims brought by a prisoner seeking damages for
due process violations during disciplinary hearings 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.
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648, 117 S.Ct.
1584, 1589 (1997). There, the Supreme Court noted that there
is a distinction between bringing a 1983 claim for the wrong
procedure and attempting to bring a 1983 claim for the wrong
result. Id. (citing Cary v. Piphus, 435
U.S. 247, 266-67, 98 S.Ct. 1042, 1053-54 (1978)). But the
Court was careful to note that even a claim challenging the
wrong procedure would still be barred by Heck if
success on the claim would “necessarily imply the
invalidity of the deprivation of . . . ...