United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
TERRANCE L. JAMES-BEY, Plaintiff,
N.C. DEP'T OF PUBLIC SAFETY, et al., Defendants.
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's “Declaration of Facts” Complaint
[Doc. 1], Amended Complaint [Doc. 13], second Amended
Complaint [Doc. 15], and third Amended Complaint [Doc. 17]
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Plaintiff has been granted in forma pauperis
status. [Doc. 12].
Plaintiff Terrance L. James-Bey, a North Carolina inmate at
Marion Correctional Institution, filed this action on January
22, 2019, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming thirteen
Defendants. [Doc. 1]. In the original Complaint, Plaintiff,
who identifies himself as a “free born Moor, ”
alleges that Defendants are “illegally and unlawfully
detaining” his “natural person as a ‘Black
Political Hostage, '” that he has been assigned to
Marion's Rehabilitative Diversion Unit as an act of
religious persecution, and that Marion officials have
confiscated both his personal property (including religious
property) and legal papers in retaliation for Plaintiff's
complaints against Defendants related to their alleged
mistreatment of him based on his religion. [Id. at
3]. Plaintiff does not allege any particular conduct by any
of the thirteen Defendants he has named. [See id.].
Plaintiff seeks $1, 072, 000.00 in damages. [Id. at
has recently filed three amended complaints in this matter -
one on April 29, 2019; one on May 13, 2019; and one on May
22, 2019. [Docs. 13, 15, 17].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must review the Complaint to determine whether it is
subject to dismissal on the grounds that it is
“frivolous or malicious [or] fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Furthermore, § 1915A requires an initial
review of a “complaint in a civil action in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer
or employee of a governmental entity, ” and the court
must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or
any portion of the complaint, if the complaint is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted; or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Furthermore, a
pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the liberal
construction requirement will not permit a district court to
ignore a clear failure to allege facts in his Complaint which
set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387
(4th Cir. 1990).
initial review, the Court finds that Plaintiff's original
Complaint and subsequent attempted amendments suffer from
many deficiencies. Plaintiff must therefore amend his
Complaint, or this action will be subject to dismissal
without prejudice and without further notice to Plaintiff.
For instance, to the extent that Plaintiff has named various
supervisors at the prisons where he has been incarcerated or
otherwise solely based on their supervisory
positions, these Defendants are subject to dismissal. See
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694
(1978) (stating that under § 1983, liability is personal
in nature, and the doctrine of respondeat superior does not
apply). In his amended complaint, Plaintiff must allege how
each individual Defendant personally
participated in the alleged violations of constitutional
Plaintiff is placed on notice that he may not bring unrelated
claims against unrelated parties in a single action.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a), 20(a)(2); George v.
Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (noting that
“[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong
in different suits, ” so as to prevent prisoners from
dodging the fee payment or three-strikes provisions in the
Prison Litigation Reform Act). Plaintiff may only bring a
claim against multiple defendants as long as (1) the claim
arises out of the same transaction or occurrence, or series
of transactions and occurrences; and (2) there are common
questions of law or fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). Here, in his
third Amended Complaint [Doc. 17], Plaintiff purports to name
an additional Defendant, Sergeant Nichols, claiming mail
fraud and tampering with U.S. postage. [Id. at 3].
It does not appear, however, that Plaintiff's claim
against Sergeant Nichols is related to the occurrences that
are the subject of Plaintiff's original Complaints. If
this is the case, Sergeant Nichols is not properly included
as a Defendant in this matter. See Thomas v. Davey,
No. 1:16cv925, 2017 WL 2691824, at *2 (E.D. Cal. June 22,
2017) (“Plaintiff may not pursue allegations against
multiple parties involving multiple claims in this action.
For example, Plaintiff may not pursue claims of retaliation
involving one set of defendants while simultaneously pursuing
claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs
against another set of defendants. These differing claims do
not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence and do
not share common questions of law or fact.”).
extent Plaintiff seeks to bring a Section 1983 claim against
the N.C. Department of Public Safety (NCDPS), Plaintiff is
advised that neither the State of North Carolina nor its
agencies constitute “persons” subject to suit
under Section 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989). Furthermore, the Eleventh
Amendment bars Plaintiff's suit for monetary damages
against the State of North Carolina and its various agencies.
See Ballenger v. Owens, 352 F.3d 842, 844-45 (4th
to the extent Plaintiff argues he is a “hostage”
being held “illegally and unlawfully” by virtue
of his status as a “free born Moor, ” this claim
is frivolous in any event and should not be raised in any
refiled complaint. The path of the Moorish National Movement
is well-trodden. Courts have repeatedly rejected these types
of arguments by individuals who claim to be a part of this
movement. Hampton v. City of Durham, No.
1:10-cv-706, 2010 WL 3785538, at *2-3 (M.D. N.C. Sept. 22,
2010) (unpublished) (collecting cases).
extent Plaintiff seeks return of personal property, a claim
based on the deprivation of his personal property is not
actionable under § 1983 unless there is no adequate
post-deprivation remedy available. See Parratt v.
Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 542 (1981), overruled on other
grounds by474 U.S. 327 (1986); Harris v.
McMullen, 609 Fed.Appx. 704, 705 (3d Cir. 2015)
(unpublished). Because North Carolina provides an adequate