United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
J. DAVIS United States District Judge.
Rateek Allah, a federal prisoner, initiated this case by
filing a pro se civil rights complaint (Doc. 1; Compl.).
Plaintiff has also filed a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (Docs. 5, 9), and a motion to amend his complaint to
add one defendant, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Doc. 8).
Plaintiff names thirteen defendants, against each of whom
Plaintiff asserts different claims based on different conduct
and incidents. See Compl. at 4. As relief, Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages, transfer to a level four medical
center, and injunctive relief. Id. at 22.
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).
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). Moreover, 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).
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)).
is a federal inmate seeking relief from federal officials. As
such, his claim arises under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 389,
397 (1971) (recognizing an implied right of action for
damages against a federal agent who violated the
plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free from
unreasonable searches and seizures). An action under Bivens
is similar to an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 except
that a Bivens action is maintained against federal officials
while a § 1983 case is against state officials. See
Abella v. Rubino, 63 F.3d 1063, 1065 (11th Cir.
1995). As such, when analyzing a Bivens claim, courts apply
case law interpreting § 1983 cases. See, e.g.,
Solliday v. Fed. Officers, 413 Fed.Appx. 206, 209 (11th
claims arising under Bivens are not coextensive with those
arising under § 1983. Indeed, since Bivens, the Supreme
Court has extended Bivens remedies in only two other
contexts. See Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843,
1854-55 (2017) (explaining the limited circumstances in which
the Supreme Court, since Bivens, has extended “an
implied damages action”: gender discrimination in a
federal employment context (Davis case) and failure to
provide medical care for a federal prisoner (Carlson case)).
complaint is subject to dismissal under this Court's
screening obligation. First, Plaintiff improperly joins
multiple, unrelated claims for alleged violations that have
no logical relationship. A plaintiff may set forth only
related claims in one civil rights complaint. He may not join
unrelated claims and various defendants unless the claims
arise “out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences” and if
“any question of law or fact common to all defendants
will arise in the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). As
recognized by the Eleventh Circuit, “a claim arises out
of the same transaction or occurrence if there is a logical
relationship between the claims.” Constr.
Aggregates, Ltd. v. Forest Commodities Corp., 147 F.3d
1334, 1337 n.6 (11th Cir. 1998) (quotations and citation
alleges multiple claims that do not arise out of the same
transaction or series of transactions. He asserts Defendants
Doaks, Chavis, Jones, and Reinser violated criminal statutes,
18 U.S.C. § 1001 and 18 U.S.C. § 241, see Compl. at
5; Defendants Colon, Albas, and Ramirez have stolen money
intended to be used for food, comfort items, or religious
activities, Id. at 12-13; Defendant Velehoe, the
mailroom supervisor, fails to send Plaintiff's legal
mail, Id. at 14; Defendants Taylor and Cheatham
impose lockdowns for what Plaintiff perceives to be “no
reason, ” Id. at 14-15; when Plaintiff was
placed on suicide watch, Defendant Ramos was unsympathetic to
his being cold, and she served him different food from the
food served to the rest of the inmate population,
Id. at 16; Defendant Cook refuses to accept
Plaintiff in the medical center in retaliation for
Plaintiff's lawsuit against a prison official in
California, Id. at 17-18; Defendants Taylor and
Cheatham withhold reading materials and radios from inmates
in the special housing unit (SHU), Id. at 19;
Defendants Cheatham, Reinser, and Taylor refuse to install
“shelters” in the recreation yard and will not
permit inmates to remove their shirts when outside in the
sun, Id. at 20; Defendant Kennedy (a doctor) refuses
to transfer Plaintiff for medical/mental health care, id.;
Defendant Reinser no longer allows inmates access to Criminal
Law Weekly, Id. at 21; and Defendants Cheatham and
Taylor forced inmates to stay in their cells during Hurricane
Dorian, despite the fact that the storm moved slowly and did
not appear headed for Coleman, Florida, Id. Because
these claims are unrelated, Plaintiff's Complaint is due
to be dismissed.
only does Plaintiff's Complaint not comply with the
federal pleading standards, but under § 1983 and Bivens,
Plaintiff fails to state a claim for relief against the named
Defendants. Plaintiff's claim asserting Defendants Doaks,
Chavis, Jones, and Reinser violated criminal statutes is not
cognizable because these criminal statutes do not confer a
private right of action. Cent. Bank of Denver, N.A. v. First
Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A., 511 U.S. 164, 190
(1994) (“We have been quite reluctant to infer a
private right of action from a criminal prohibition
alone.”). See also Blankenship v. Gulf Power
Co., 551 Fed.Appx. 468, 470, 471 (11th Cir. 2013)
(affirming dismissal of a civil rights complaint alleging in
part the violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 because that
criminal statute does not provide a cause of action);
Crosson v. LaSalle Bank, N.A. as Tr. for MLMI Tr.
Series 2006-MLNI, No. 108CV03720MHSAJB, 2009 WL
10711904, at *13 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 7, 2009), report and
recommendation adopted sub nom., No. 1:08-CV-3720-MHS, 2009
WL 10711898 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 28, 2009) (citing cases in which
courts have held 18 U.S.C. § 241 does not confer a
private right of action); Stoll v. Martin, No.
3:06CV180 LACEMT, 2006 WL 2024387, at *2 (N.D. Fla. July 17,
2006) (dismissing a complaint as frivolous where the
plaintiff alleged violations of criminal statutes, including
18 U.S.C. § 241).
claims relating to inmate classification, prison transfer
decisions, lockdown procedures, and protocols for inmates on
suicide watch or in the SHU involve matters of prison
administration, which are not actionable under either §
1983 or Bivens. See, e.g., Bell v. Wolfish,
441 U.S. 520, 547-48 (1979) (“[T]he operation of our
correctional facilities is peculiarly the province of the
Legislative and Executive Branches . . . not the
Judicial.”). See also McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S.
24, 39 (2002) (“It is well settled that the decision
where to house inmates is at the core of prison
claims relating to his comfort (i.e., warmth, specific kinds
of food, shade from the sun) similarly are not actionable.
“[T]he Constitution does not mandate comfortable
prisons, ” nor can inmates expect to “be free of
discomfort.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
349 (1981). The Eleventh Circuit has held, “a
prisoner's mere discomfort, without more, does not offend
the Eighth Amendment.” Chandler v. Crosby, 379
F.3d 1278, 1295 (11th Cir. 2004).
claims of a denial of access to courts are facially
insufficient as well. 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 does not allege the mailroom supervisor's
interference with his mail or his inability to access
Criminal Law Weekly has caused him “actual
injury” as required to state a claim for a denial of
access to the courts. He does not, for example, allege
Defendants' actions have impeded his ability to pursue a
nonfrivolous post-conviction or civil rights claim.
while Plaintiff suggests the mailroom supervisor failed to
send his legal mail on two occasions, his allegations are
belied by this Court's docket. For example, Plaintiff
says he mailed petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and a
motion for leave to amend his complaint in this case. He
says, “the 2241's never made it to the
court.” Compl. at 14. However, the Court's docket
reflects Plaintiff has successfully filed three petitions
under § 2241 within the last six months. See Case No.