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Stuckey v. L. Beddard

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

September 5, 2019

STEPHAN KENT STUCKEY, Plaintiff,
v.
L. BEDDARD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          GREGORY A. PRESNELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This cause is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Civil Rights Complaint (“Fourth Amended Complaint, ” Doc. 21). Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility and proceeding pro se, filed the Fourth Amended Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1]

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff alleges that, on June 5, 2019, Defendant A. Jones “had the Plaintiff placed in segregated confinement” and that her reasons for doing so were a “pure work of fiction.” (Doc. 21 at 6). While in segregated confinement, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Jones denied him the ability to communicate with “outside individuals” and to have access to public records. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants L. Bedard. L. Howard, and C. Williams “were complicit with and assisted A. Jones . . . .” (Id.).

         Plaintiff states that, on June 20, 2019, Defendant Jones “amended” her reasons for placing Plaintiff in segregated confinement but that those reasons were unsubstantiated and “refuted by the records.” (Id. at 10). On July 3, 2019, Plaintiff was served with “a DR after spending [a] month in [segregated] confinement.” (Id. at 15). Plaintiff “appealed the DR to Captain L. Howard, ” but the appeal was denied. (Id. at 17). On July 8, 2019, “all forms of communication were severed by A. Jones.” (Id.). Plaintiff claims that the disciplinary report “violated due process of law” and was untimely because it was issued “18 days after the lawful window to write a DR had slammed shut.” (Id. at 16).

         Plaintiff seeks damages for being “wrongfully confined, ” and he requests that Defendants be required “to complete at least a 40-hour training course on professional responsibility, ” that Defendants “be retrained for their positions, ” and that Defendants be placed “on probation.” (Id. at 18). Plaintiff also seeks an order removing Defendant Jones from her current position and placing her on suspension for sixty days. (Id.). In addition, Plaintiff requests that Defendants return to him “all the time which was unconstitutionally taken from him.” (Id.).

         II. Legal Standard

         Plaintiff seeks redress from a governmental entity or employee, and, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1915A(a), the Court is obligated to screen such a prisoner civil rights complaint as soon as practicable. On review, the Court is required to dismiss the complaint (or any portion thereof) under the following circumstances:

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.--On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, 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(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(i) (“[n]otwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . is frivolous or malicious.”).[2] Additionally, the Court must read a plaintiff's pro se allegations in a liberal fashion. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).

         “To establish a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must prove (1) a violation of a constitutional right, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” Holmes v. Crosby, 418 F.3d 1256, 1258 (11th Cir. 2005).

         III. Analysis

         In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the Supreme Court held that claims for damages arising from challenges to the legality of a prisoner's confinement are not cognizable in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action “unless and until the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or impugned by the grant of a writ of habeas corpus” and complaints containing such claims must therefore be dismissed. Id. 489-90. Moreover, a state prisoner's “claim for declaratory relief and money damages, . . . that necessarily imply the invalidity of the punishment imposed [in a disciplinary proceeding, including a loss of good-time credits], is not cognizable under § 1983 . . .“ unless the prisoner demonstrates that the challenged action has previously been invalidated. Edward ...


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