United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
ORDER & MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION
T. Numbers, II United States Magistrate Judge.
Marlon Goodwin, a state inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. D.E. 1. The court
directed Goodwin to particularize his claims. D.E. 12. After
reviewing his particularized complaint, the court allows
Goodwin to proceed with his claims alleging sexual assault,
excessive force, and failure to protect. But the district
court should dismiss Goodwin's remaining claims.
Screening Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act
PLRA requires courts to review, prior to docketing, actions
filed by prisoners against governmental entities or
officials. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The purpose of this
review is to eliminate those claims that unnecessarily impede
judicial efficiency and the administration of justice. The
court must examine the pleadings, identify cognizable claims,
and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b).
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted if it does not “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). The Supreme Court has
explained that “[a] claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Goodwin's
status as a pro se party relaxes, but does not
eliminate, the requirement that his complaint contain
facially plausible claims. The court must liberally construe
a pro se plaintiff's allegations, but it
“cannot ignore a clear failure to allege facts”
that set forth a cognizable claim. Johnson v. BAC Home
Loans Servicing, LP, 867 F.Supp.2d 766, 776 (E.D. N.C.
claim arises out of 42 U.S.C. §1983, which creates civil
liability for any person acting under the color of state law
who deprives a plaintiff of “any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the
United States. Thus, in order to state a claim under §
1983, “a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States,
and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law.” West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Philips v. Pitt
Cnty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir.
original complaint, Goodwin alleged Eighth Amendment and ADA
claims, arguing that prison officials were deliberately
indifferent to and refused to accommodate his serious medical
need of myasthenia gravis. He also described a sexual
assault. The court directed Goodwin to particularize his
claims because they did not comply with Rules 8 and 20 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Order and M&R at 2-3,
particularized complaint, Goodwin apparently abandons his
deliberate indifference and ADA claims, and instead focuses
on the alleged sexual assault. Goodwin alleges defendant
Lateet Wilson sexually assaulted and used excessive force
against him on April 28, 2017. Am. Compl. at 5-10, D.E. 13.
He also contends that Correctional Officer Tigert and
Lieutenant Wheeler failed to protect him from Wilson.
Id. at 6. These claims are enough to survive
frivolity review, and Goodwin may proceed with his excessive
force and sexual assault claims against Wilson, and his
failure to protect claims against Tigert and Wheeler.
result of the April 28, 2017 altercations with Wilson, prison
officials charged and convicted Goodwin of various
disciplinary infractions. Id. at 10-13. Goodwin
contends prison officials denied him due process during these
disciplinary convictions. Id. But a plaintiff cannot
recover monetary damages or obtain injunctive relief for
alleged constitutional violations when the recovery would
imply the invalidity of an underlying conviction unless he
can “prove that the conviction . . . has been reversed
on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared
invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such
determination, or called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.”
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994);
see Mobley v. Tompkins, 473 Fed.Appx. 337, 337 (4th
finding that officials deprived Goodwin of due process
protections during a disciplinary proceeding “would
necessarily imply the invalidity of the resulting
disciplinary conviction and penalties.” Mukuria v.
Mullins, No. 7:15-CV-451, 2015 WL 6958343, at *2 (W.D.
Va. Nov. 10, 2015). Without any allegations about the status
of any purported convictions or penalties, Goodwin's
§ 1983 due process claim is barred under Heck.
See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005);
see, e.g., Bernard v. Branker, No.
5:10-CT-3164-D, 2011 WL 2748660, at *5 (E.D. N.C. July 14,
2011) (summarily dismissing § 1983 disciplinary
conviction claim under § 1915A as Heck barred).
As a result, Goodwin's due process claim should be
dismissed without prejudice.
also alleges that a John Doe defendant violated his
constitutional rights during the grievance process. Am.
Compl. at 13, D.E. 13. But there is no constitutional right
to a grievance process. Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72,
75 (4th Cir. 1994). Thus, Godwin's claim against the John
Doe defendant about the grievance process, should be
dismissed as frivolous.
discussed above, Goodwin may proceed with his excessive force
and sexual assault claims against Wilson, and his failure to
protect claims against Tigert and Wheeler. The clerk of court
shall proceed in accordance with standing order 14-SO-02
which governs service of process in state prisoner civil
rights cases. If it becomes necessary, the court directs the
United States Marshal Service to make service pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(d). The clerk of court shall also proceed
in accordance with standing order 17-SO-03 governing
appointment of North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.
to assist in discovery.
recommended that the district court dismiss Goodwin's due
process and grievance related claims without prejudice. The
deliberate indifference and ADA claims raised in the original
complaint, but not in Goodwin's amended complaint, should
also be dismissed without prejudice. Likewise, all