United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint [Doc. 1], filed under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
April 17, 2019, the Court entered an order waiving the
initial filing fee and directing monthly payments to be made
from Plaintiff's prison account. [Doc. 6]. Thus,
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff Ajanaku Murdock, a North Carolina prisoner
currently incarcerated at Alexander Correctional Institution
(“Alexander”) filed this action on January 28,
2019, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff as named
the following as Defendants: (1) FNU Williams, identified as
a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) at Lanesboro
Correctional Institution (“Lanesboro”); (2) FNU
Horne, identified as an Assistant Unit Officer at Lanesboro;
(3) the Disciplinary Appellate Committee of the N.C.
Department of Public Safety (“DPS”); (4) FNU
Mitchell, identified as the Superintendent of Lanesboro; and
(5) the Facility Classification Committee (FCC) of Lanseboro.
Plaintiff alleges that his Fourteenth Amendment due process
rights were violated because he received a punishment of
six-months' solitary confinement for an alleged assault
on a female guard that Plaintiff contends he did not commit.
support of his claims, Plaintiff alleges that after he
accidentally bumped into a female guard, the guard falsely
accused the Plaintiff of grabbing her buttocks, “while
whispering and/or telling her ‘don't
panic.'” [Doc. 1 at 2]. Plaintiff further alleges
that he was improperly charged with a class A-11 infraction,
which is assault on staff that will produce injury along with
the intent to commit a sexual act. Plaintiff alleges that an
A-11 infraction “carries a security risk, along with
automatic 6 months solitary confinement.” [Doc. 1 at
9]. Plaintiff contends he “never tried to commit any
sexual act, ” but “did over 7 months in the hole
entirely behind this offense which grossly affected me in
countless way's [sic].” [Id.].
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant FNU Williams refused to drop
the charge to a B-20, refused to allow Plaintiff “to
view the tape which proves the guard was lying in her
statement.” Plaintiff also alleges that having the
charge has given him the status of having institutional
violence points “which hinders [him] from ANY promotion
to medium custody facility.” [Id.]. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Williams refused to listen to
Plaintiff's evidence, was not impartial, and had charged
other inmates with a B-20 offense for the same alleged
infarction. [Id. at 10]. As to Defendant FNU Horne,
Plaintiff alleges that he directed Sergeant Lambert, the
investigating officer, to charge Plaintiff with an A-11
offense rather than a B-20. [Id. at 2]. As to
Defendant FNU Mitchell, Plaintiff alleges that Plaintiff
notified Defendant Mitchell regarding what occurred, that
Defendant Mitchell refused to take any action, to listen to
Plaintiff's arguments regarding policy, or to explain why
Plaintiff was singled out for an offense he did not commit
among other inmates who had actually committed the offense
but received lower charges and punishments. [Id. at
8]. Plaintiff further alleges that at the time of the
“bogus” offense, Plaintiff had been infraction
free for two years and his good time credit was taken as a
result of this offense. [Id. at 10].
the Disciplinary Hearing Committee, Plaintiff alleges that
“while citing policy, proving [Plaintiff's]
innocence, they still upheld frivolous charge and punishment
after waiting months to decide my case.” [Id.
at 2]. As for Defendant FCC, Plaintiff alleges, “they
approved and recommended me to get 6 months in segregation
despite the lack of evidence. They didn't inspect the
footage or investigate ANY aspect of the case.”
[Id. at 8]. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant
FCC refused acknowledge how another inmate who was actually
guilty of having committed the same offense against the
female officer was ultimately “let go” after
being initially charged with an A-11 offense. [Id.
alleges that Defendants violated his due process rights
because Plaintiff suffered “atypical and significant
hardship” and deprivation of liberty.”
[Id. at 3]. Plaintiff claims that he was
“mentally and emotionally” injured as a result of
Defendants' conduct, that he was unable to attend his
sister's funeral due to his control status, and that his
reputation has been negatively affected. [Id. at 3].
relief, Plaintiff requests monetary damages and injunctive
relief, including medium custody status and restoration of
good time credits lost as a result of his punishment. [Doc. 1
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the 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. In
its 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).
taking Plaintiff's allegations as true and construing all
inferences liberally in his favor, the Court finds that this
matter survives initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A as to Plaintiff's claims
against Defendants FNU Williams, FNU Horne, and FNU Mitchell.
Defendants Disciplinary Hearing Committee and FCC, these are
not distinct legal entities capable of being sued, nor are
they “persons” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. See Monell v. Dep't. of Soc.
Servs.,436 U.S. 658, 688 & n.55 (1978) (noting
that, for purposes of Section 1983 action, a
“person” includes individuals and “bodies
politic and corporate”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b). These
Defendants will, therefore, be dismissed. Should Plaintiff
timely discover the identity of any individual members of the
Disciplinary Hearing Committee or the FCC that he ...