United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
ERIC T. FRAZIER, Plaintiff,
D.R. DANIELS, SHERIFF, Defendant.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
J. DAVIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eric T. Frazier, an inmate of the Florida penal system,
initiated this action by filing a pro se civil rights
complaint (Doc. 1; Compl.) and a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (Doc. 2) in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida. Because Plaintiff complains of
the conditions of his confinement at the Clay County Jail
(CCJ), the Southern District transferred the case to this
Court. See Order (Doc. 6). Plaintiff names the
Sheriff of Clay County as the only Defendant. In his
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts he is being restricted from
accessing the law library and from engaging in exercise.
Compl. at 2, 3.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a district court
to dismiss a complaint if the court determines the action is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which
relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
With respect to whether a complaint “fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, ” the language of
the PLRA mirrors the language of Rule 12(b)(6), Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, so courts apply the same standard in both
contexts. Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490
(11th Cir. 1997); see also Alba v. Montford, 517
F.3d 1249, 1252 (11th Cir. 2008). “To survive a motion
to dismiss, 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 (2009) (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“Labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” that
amount to “naked assertions” will not suffice.
Id. (quotations, alteration, and citation omitted).
a complaint must “contain either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to
sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.”
Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d
678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001) (quotations and citations omitted).
In reviewing a pro se plaintiff's pleadings, a court must
liberally construe the plaintiff's allegations. See
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972);
Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir.
2011). However, the duty of a court to construe pro se
pleadings liberally does not require the court to serve as an
attorney for the plaintiff. Freeman v. Sec'y, Dept.
of Corr., 679 Fed.Appx. 982, 982 (11th Cir. 2017)
(citing GJR Invs., Inc. v. Cty. of Escambia, 132
F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998)).
Complaint is subject to dismissal under this Court's
screening obligation because he fails to “state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” See
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, a plaintiff must allege “(1) both that the
defendant deprived [him] of a right secured under the
Constitution or federal law and (2) that such a deprivation
occurred under color of state law.” See
Bingham, 654 F.3d at 1175 (alteration in original).
allegation that he has been restricted from the law library
implicates an access-to-courts claim under the First
Amendment. To state a claim for a denial of access to the
courts, a plaintiff must allege an “actual
injury.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 349-50
(1996); Barbour v. Haley, 471 F.3d 1222, 1225 (11th
Cir. 2006). “Actual injury may be established by
demonstrating that an inmate's efforts to pursue a
nonfrivolous claim were frustrated or impeded by . . . an
official's action.” Barbour, 471 F.3d at
1225 (citations omitted). See also Al-Amin v. Smith,
511 F.3d 1317, 1332 (11th Cir. 2008) (“[P]rison
officials' actions that allegedly violate an inmate's
right of access to the courts must have impeded the
inmate's pursuit of a nonfrivolous, post-conviction claim
or civil rights action.”) (quoting Wilson v.
Blankenship, 163 F.3d 1284, 1290 (11th Cir. 1998)).
Plaintiff alleges he is currently pursuing post-conviction
relief, see Compl. at 2, his simple assertion that he has
been restricted from going to the law library fails to state
a plausible claim for relief under § 1983. See
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Plaintiff does not allege he has
missed a filing deadline or was otherwise frustrated in his
efforts to pursue post-conviction relief. See
Wilson, 163 F.3d at 1290-91 (clarifying that prisoners
have “no inherent or independent right of access to a
law library, ” but must demonstrate a lack of access
hindered his efforts to pursue a nonfrivolous criminal appeal
or post-conviction claim). Additionally, the Court takes
judicial notice that Plaintiff indeed has access to the
courts because he is represented by counsel in his
post-conviction proceedings, who filed a motion on
Plaintiff's behalf as recently as October 10,
allegation that he has been restricted from exercising
implicates the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual
punishment clause. A prisoner asserting an Eighth Amendment
violation must allege the prison official “actually
knew of ‘an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety' and disregarded that risk.” Campbell v.
Sikes, 169 F.3d 1353, 1364 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994)).
Plaintiff's vague allegations about an inability to
exercise do not satisfy the stringent Eighth Amendment
standard. Specifically, Plaintiff does not allege his
inability to exercise constitutes an excessive risk to his
health of which Defendant knew. See Compl. at 2. Moreover,
Plaintiff includes no facts explaining the circumstances
under which he has been denied access to exercise that would
support the inference his health is at risk. See id.
Plaintiff fails to allege how Sheriff Daniels is responsible
for the alleged denial of access to the courts or exercise.
Plaintiff may not proceed against Sheriff Daniels in his role
as a supervisor of others who may have violated his rights.
“It is well established in this Circuit that
supervisory officials are not liable under § 1983 for
the unconstitutional acts of their subordinates on the basis
of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.”
Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352, 1360 (11th Cir.
2003) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
case is DISMISSED without prejudice.
Clerk shall enter judgment dismissing this
case without prejudice, terminate any pending motions, and
close the file.
Clerk shall send Plaintiff a civil rights
complaint form. If Plaintiff chooses to file a new
complaint, he should not put this case number on it. ...