United States District Court, S.D. Texas
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
P. ELLISON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a state inmate proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, filed this section 1983 lawsuit against
several officers of the Estelle Unit. Having screened
plaintiffs complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
Court DISMISSES this lawsuit, as follows.
BACKGROUND AND CLAIMS
claims that one or more of the defendants refused to move him
to safer housing after he was labeled a "snitch" by
inmate gang members. He acknowledges that prison officials
investigated his claims and placed him in temporary
protective housing during the investigation, but complains
that they ultimately returned him to his regular housing.
Plaintiff states that he feared for his safety and felt
threatened. He asks this Court to order Estelle Unit
officials to move him to another unit and to award him
damages for his emotional and mental anguish.
further alleges that defendants removed his personal property
from his cell while he was in temporary protective housing,
but failed to return all of it upon his return. Plaintiff
claims that this violated his due process property rights and
denied him access to the courts.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may scrutinize the
basis of the complaint and, if appropriate, dismiss the case
if the lawsuit 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. An
action is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or
fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989);
Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 213 (5th Cir. 1998).
A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on
an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the
complaint alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly
does not exist. Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 156
(5th Cir. 1999).
request for injunctive relief against the Estelle Unit
officials is DISMISSED AS MOOT. The Court
notes that plaintiff was transferred to another prison unit
one week after this lawsuit was filed, and is no longer
housed at the Estelle Unit. Plaintiff does not allege facts
showing that it is likely he will be returned to the Estelle
Unit in the near future. Consequently, the requested
injunctive relief is unwarranted.
Official Capacity Claims
seeks monetary damages against the prison officials in their
official capacity. The requested relief is barred by Eleventh
Amendment immunity. See Pennhurst State School Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984). Accordingly, these claims
are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Property/Access to Courts
claims that prison officers removed his personal property
from his cell, including certain legal paperwork, but failed
to return all of it. He seeks damages for the loss of his
property and for denial of his right of access to the courts.
extent plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the wrongful loss
of personal property, his claim is barred by the
Parratt/Hudson doctrine. See Hudson v.
Palmer,468 U.S. 517, 534 (1984); Parrattv.
Taylor,451 U.S. 527, 541 (1981), overruled in part
on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams,474 U.S. 327
(1986). According to this doctrine, a negligent or even
intentional deprivation of property by state officials that
is random and unauthorized does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation or a cognizable claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 if state law provides an adequate
post-deprivation remedy. S ...