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 (Docs. 8, 9). In his complaint, Plaintiff
names eleven Defendants for alleged constitutional violations
that occurred at Suwannee Correctional Institution (SCI) on
November 20, 2015. See Compl. at 2-4. Plaintiff alleges Defendants
Carver, Moody, and Ovando placed him on seventy-two-hour
strip status for a disciplinary infraction (leaving his
“blues” on his cell floor), which Plaintiff
contends should not have resulted in such a sanction.
Id. at 6-7. Plaintiff alleges he was deprived of all
bedding, hygiene and personal items, and clothing (except
boxers) while on strip status. Id. at 4. 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.
names the other Defendants in their roles as supervisors or
grievance responders. He alleges Defendants Ratliff, Perry,
Lane, Dickerson, Hayes, Gartman, Greene, and Adams, “in
approving, or unofficially aiding, condoning, concealing
and/or directly perpetuating the wanton and malicious
deprivation” of personal property amounts to “a
breach of freedom of speech as retaliation in violation of
the [First] Amendment.” Id. at 4.
contends Defendants' conduct caused him to experience
depression, humiliation, soreness, and sleep deprivation.
Id. at 9. He also asserts he had an asthma attack on
April 15, 2015. 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.
does not allege the conditions of his confinement posed an
unreasonable risk to his health or safety of which Defendant
were aware. See Id. Even more, the grievance
documents Plaintiff offers in support of his complaint (Doc.
1-2) belie his allegation he was denied hygiene items while
on strip status. Prison officials stated in grievance
responses that “hygiene items such as toilet paper, and
a towel, were provided to [Plaintiff] on an as needed
basis.” See Doc. 1-2 at 16, 20.
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 indicating he was
subjected to conditions so severe that they imposed upon him
a significant hardship in comparison to the ordinary
incidents of prison life. Additionally, Plaintiff provides a
grievance response in which a prison official states
Plaintiff was appropriately disciplined for violating a
prison rule. See Doc. 1-2 at 18.
Plaintiff fails to state a First Amendment violation against
the remaining Defendants who allegedly condoned, concealed,
or perpetuated Defendants Carver, Moody, and Ovando's
conduct. 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 these Defendants
retaliated against him because he engaged in protected
speech. Rather, he contends they “conspired” with
other Defendants by “concealing and failing to
intervene [in] the ongoing problem of unconstitutional strip
at [SCI].” Compl. at 7. Because the Court finds
Plaintiff fails to allege an underlying constitutional
violation against Defendants Carver, Moody, and Ovando,