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Wright v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

December 13, 2019

UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants.



         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1), and on his Motions for Copies at No Cost, (Doc. Nos. 3, 4), and Plaintiff's Motion and Request for Injunction, (Doc. No. 5). Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 13).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se incarcerated Plaintiff has filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He complains about a number of conditions at the Marion Correctional Institution where he resided at the time he filed the Complaint.[1] He names as Defendants the United States, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (“NCDPS”), NCDPS Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter, Security Risk Group (“SRG”) Director Christopher Rich, and the following Marion C.I. employees: Administrator Hubert Corpening; Assistant Superintendent Donald Watkins; Assistant Superintendent of Programs David Cotherin; Program Director of RDU Julia Jenkins; Program Director of Rehabilitative Diversion Unit (“RDU”) Program Gregory Swink; Disciplinary Hearing Officer Robert Barker; Mental Health Treatment Staff Dr. Murphy; Transfer Captain Donald Newton; Sergeant Adam Hergenrother; and SRG Officer J. Nichols.

         Construing the Complaint liberally and accepting the allegations as true, Plaintiff claims that he is being discriminated against, denied equal protection based on his status as a “Sovereign Citizen, ” “Natural Person” and “Free Born Moor.” (Doc. No. 1 at 10). Plaintiff alleges that, since he entered Marion C.I., he has been “discriminated, targeted, prejudiced against, deprived of constitutional rights and retaliated against.” (Doc. No. 1 at 9-10). Plaintiff claims that he is being erroneously classified as a gang affiliate which has a number of impacts on the conditions of his confinement that, he alleges, are depriving him of his constitutional rights.

         Plaintiff appears to complain that Defendants made unauthorized withdrawals from his prison trust account in the amount of $10 per disciplinary infraction. (Doc. No. 1 at 16). Plaintiff claims that these $10 charges are fraudulent under North Carolina law and the United States Code and are gained through dishonesty, blackmail, and extortion. Plaintiff claims that the $10 fines minimize the study or education of law and may discourage other offenders from doing so, and that NCDPS/DOC does not provide Plaintiff with adequate legal assistance or information. Plaintiff further claims that Defendant Barker deliberately and unlawfully charged Plaintiff's trust fund account with excessive fines and taxes, i.e., administrative fees, without Plaintiff's consent or with the approval of the signatory administrator, Defendant Corpening.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants lack jurisdiction over him because his detention is “founded upon the ‘False Identification' of [his] natural person … as ‘Black, U.S. Citizen.'” (Doc. No. 1 at 12). Plaintiff appears to claim that criminal charges and/or disciplinary infractions against him should therefore be dismissed. (Doc. No. 1 at 13).

         Petitioner claims that he has a serious need for adequate mental health treatment. Plaintiff alleges that he continued to place mental health referrals for help with “deep depression and to notify psychiatrist of mood disorders…, ” (Doc. No. 1 at 13), yet Dr. Murphy deliberately failed to provide adequate treatment and continues to house Plaintiff in de facto segregation indefinitely without due process or adequate treatments.

         Plaintiff claims that he is being denied adequate recreation and that he is forced to strip search in order to get recreation, which results in 20 strip searches in a four-week timeframe. He claims that these conditions have been imposed on him with deliberate indifference to his health and safety, and that the lack of recreation due to the implementation of excessive strip searching is causing Plaintiff's mental and physical wellbeing to deteriorate, caused by deliberate indifference, negligence, and wanton infliction of mental and physical pain.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants are depriving him of his First Amendment rights by depriving Plaintiff of religious rights and freedom because Plaintiff “know[s] and understand[s] and truly believe[s] the ‘Holy Bible' that in a God in which is Sovereign with unalienable Rights supported by the very words of Jesus in the Holy Bible….” (Doc. No. 1 at 14).

         Plaintiff next alleges that SRG staff members are harassing him. Specifically, Defendant Nichols placed gang-related infractions against Plaintiff more than six times in a seven-day period, and three times within 24 hours. (Doc. No. 1 at 18). Defendant Barker entered a finding of guilt in Plaintiff's disciplinary proceedings by Defendant Nichols after being notified that Plaintiff never reviewed any policy and procedures of NCDPS/DOC related to what is and is not considered gang participation and what is considered SRG. Defendant Barker deliberately imposed these conditions and made that finding out of retaliation for a complaint filed against him in case number 1:18-cv-90, which violates the Fifth and Eighth Amendments, and that Defendant Barker deducted excessive funds from Plaintiff's account and burdened him with debt without consent or due process. Defendant Hergenrother, who is former SRG staff, is in cahoots with the retaliation, and “deliberately placed” a “U.C.C. I-207 form” and used J. Nichols to harass and prejudice Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 1 at 18).

         He alleges that Defendants Corpening and Murphy deliberately denied Plaintiff protective custody after being informed that Plaintiff is in fear for his life at Marion C.I. “due to discrimination and treated differently by staff/Respondents” Defendants Corpening, Jenkins, Cotherin, Swink, and Watkins [who are] ... depriving Plaintiff of liberty and placement of harsher conditions than other offenders, and by targeting Plaintiff for exercising his rights and challenging Defendants' scope of authority and inactions.” (Doc. No. 1 at 19). Administrators with authority, i.e., Defendants Corpening, Watkins, Cotherin, Jenkins, Swink, Murphy, and Newton, failed to acknowledge Plaintiff's declaration of protective custody and continue to deprive him of those requests.

         Plaintiff claims that he suffered the following injuries as a result of Defendants' actions: stolen personal property, pain and suffering, depression, stress, intentional interference, unlawful detainer, intentional inflicted emotional distress, loss of personal property, post-traumatic stress, theft of personal property, eating disorders, modes disorders, fraud, unlawful levy, denationalization, defamation of character, cruel and unusual punishment, forcible detainer, lack of trust, sleeping difficulties, intentional inflicted emotional distress, and severe systematic psychological abuse. (Doc. No. 1 at 3).

         Plaintiff seeks damages, transfer, discovery, judgment on the pleadings, partial summary judgment, all other relief the Court deems just and equitable, and a jury trial. (Doc. No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff also seeks an injunction because he fears another reprisal that may lead to more irreparable injuries by the Defendants “or employees that may hold a vendetta against Plaintiff for the filing of this good faith complaint….” (Doc. No. 1 at 19). Plaintiff claims that he should be granted judgment as a matter of law because he has presented a prima facie case. He lists discovery requests that he seeks. He further argues that partial summary judgment should be granted because his exhibits show no genuine ...

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