United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
J. DAVIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Tarvis Wilson, an inmate of the Florida penal system,
initiated this action by filing a pro se Civil Rights
Complaint (Doc. 1; Compl.). Plaintiff moves to proceed in
forma pauperis (Doc. 11). In his complaint, Plaintiff names
seven Defendants, including one “John Doe, ” for
alleged constitutional violations that occurred at Suwannee
Correctional Institution on April 12, 2016. See Compl. at
2-3. Plaintiff asserts five Defendants placed him on
seventy-two-hour strip status for a disciplinary infraction
Plaintiff contends he did not commit. Id. at 3, 4.
On strip status, Plaintiff was deprived of all bedding,
hygiene and personal items, and clothing (except boxers).
Id. at 3, 5. Such conduct, Plaintiff alleges,
amounts to deliberate indifference and cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and a denial
of due process in violation of the Fourteenth
Amendment. Id. at 3. Plaintiff's claim
against the remaining two Defendants is unclear. It appears
Plaintiff alleges they retaliated against him in violation of
the First Amendment because they did not grant him relief
when he filed grievances related to his strip status.
Id. at 3-4.
contends Defendants' conduct caused him to experience
depression, humiliation, soreness, and sleep deprivation.
Id. at 5. He also asserts he had an asthma attack on
April 15th. Id. As relief, Plaintiff seeks
damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. Id.
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).
Plaintiff fails to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment.
To state a claim that his conditions of confinement violated
the Eighth Amendment, a prisoner must allege the prison
official was deliberately indifferent to conditions that were
“sufficiently serious.” Chandler v.
Crosby, 379 F.3d 1278, 1288 (11th Cir. 2004) (“The
‘cruel and unusual punishments' standard applies to
the conditions of a prisoner's confinement.”).
Conditions of confinement are sufficiently serious under the
Eighth Amendment only if they are so extreme that they expose
the prisoner to “an unreasonable risk of serious damage
to his future health or safety.” Id. at 1289.
Allegations of merely harsh conditions do not state a claim
under the Eighth Amendment. Id. Plaintiff does not
allege the conditions of his confinement posed an
unreasonable risk to his health or safety of which Defendant
were aware. See id.
the Eleventh Circuit has expressly held a prisoner who
alleges he was placed on seventy-two-hour strip status and
provided only boxers fails to state a claim under the Eighth
Amendment. See Woodson v. Whitehead, 673 Fed.Appx.
931, 932 (11th Cir. 2016) (“Confinement without
clothing (other than boxers), bedding, or hygienic materials
for 72 hours during the months of April and August in Florida
is not the type of extreme prison condition that create[s]
a substantial risk of serious harm.”). See also
O'Connor v. Kelley, 644 Fed.Appx. 928, 932 (11th
Cir. 2016) (holding the prisoner failed to state the
conditions of his confinement were cruel and unusual when he
was placed on strip status for weeks). Because
Plaintiff's claim is premised on facts the Eleventh
Circuit has held do not amount to an Eighth Amendment
violation, his claim necessarily fails. See Woodson,
673 Fed.Appx. at 932; O'Connor, 644 Fed.Appx. at
Plaintiff's allegations, accepted as true, fail to
demonstrate a denial of due process under the Fourteenth
Amendment. See Woodson, 673 Fed.Appx. at 933
(recognizing “restrictive disciplinary confinement . .
. is not the kind of change in condition that . . . imposes
an atypical or significant hardship”) (citing
Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 482-86 (1995)).
Plaintiff asserts no facts suggesting he was subjected to
conditions so severe that they imposed upon him a significant
hardship in comparison to the ordinary incidents of prison
life such that a liberty interest was implicated. See
Sandin, 515 U.S. at 485, 487 (“Discipline by
prison officials in response to a wide range of misconduct
falls within the expected perimeters of the sentence imposed
by a court of law.”).
Plaintiff fails to state a First Amendment violation against
the two Defendants (Lane and Doe) who allegedly denied him
relief when he filed a grievance. To state an actionable
claim for retaliation, a plaintiff must allege:
(1) his speech was constitutionally protected; (2) the inmate
suffered adverse action such that the [official's]
allegedly retaliatory conduct would likely deter a person of
ordinary firmness from engaging in such speech; and (3) there
is a causal relationship between the retaliatory action . . .
and the protected speech [the grievance].
O'Bryant v. Finch, 637 F.3d 1207, 1212 (11th
Cir. 2011) (first and third alterations in original).
Plaintiff alleges no facts suggesting Defendants Lane and Doe
engaged in retaliatory conduct against him because he filed
grievances. Indeed, Plaintiff asserts no factual allegations
against Defendants Lane and Doe at all. See Compl. at 4-5.
Rather, Plaintiff references these Defendants only when he
sets forth his claims for relief, and it appears his claim
against Lane and Doe is based solely on his placement on
strip status by the other Defendants. Id. at 3-4.
extent Plaintiff's claim against Defendants Lane and Doe
is premised solely on their roles as supervisors, his claim
fails as a matter of law. See Cottone v. Jenne, 326
F.3d 1352, 1360 (11th Cir. 2003) (“It is well
established in this Circuit that supervisory officials are
not liable under § 1983 for the unconstitutional ...