United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION TO ENTER FINAL
B. Libby United States Magistrate Judge
Alejandro Costilla is a former Texas inmate appearing pro
se and in forma pauperis. This case has been
referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for case
management pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. The undersigned
recommends that Plaintiff's case be dismissed and final
judgment entered because the Court has dismissed all of
Plaintiff's claims against all of the defendants. There
are no further pending claims or motions before the Court.
February 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed his original complaint
alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement at the
TDCJ McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas. (D.E. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff named as defendants: (1) Ken Putnam, Jr., Assistant
Warden; (2) John Crouch, Laundry Department Manager; (3)
Captain Juan Salazar, Food Services Manager; (4) William
Stephens, Director of the TDCJ-CID; and (5) E. Garza,
Assistant Region IV Director. (D.E. 1, p. 3). The undersigned
entered a memorandum and recommendation to retain Warden Matt
Barber in his official capacity for purposes of
Plaintiff's claims seeking injunctive relief. (D.E. 9).
The undersigned further recommended Plaintiff's remaining
claims against the remaining defendants be dismissed for
failure to state cognizable § 1983 claims and/or as
frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
and 1915A(b)(1) because it appeared Plaintiff was seeking
only injunctive relief and not monetary damages. The
undersigned ordered service on Warden Barber who filed an
answer. (D.E. 9, 10).
filed objections to the initial memorandum and recommendation
arguing that he was in fact seeking monetary damages against
individual defendants in addition to injunctive relief. The
district judge sustained Plaintiff's objections in part,
“leaving his individual capacity claims pending.”
(D.E. 14, p. 1). The district judge did not address all of
Plaintiff's individual capacity claims because those
claims were not considered separately in the
undersigned's memorandum and recommendation. (D.E. 14, p.
5). The district judge left it to the discretion of the
undersigned whether to serve the remaining defendants. (D.E.
14, p. 5).
was not ordered on Defendant E. Garza because the initial
memorandum and recommendation specifically addressed
Plaintiff's claims against this defendant (D.E. 9, pp.
6-9) and the district judge overruled Plaintiff's
objections to the dismissal of this defendant (D.E. 14, pp.
6-7). Defendant E. Garza was the Assistant Director of Region
IV of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Plaintiff
sued Defendant Garza because he was a supervisor and because
he “signed off” on Plaintiff's Step 2
grievance. (D.E. 1, p. 3). The district judge overruled
Plaintiff's objections to the dismissal of Defendant
Garza because Garza had no personal involvement in the case.
(D.E. 14, pp. 6-7).
undersigned recognizes an ambiguity exists with regard to
Plaintiff's claims against Defendant E. Garza. On one
hand, the district judge specifically addressed
Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Garza and overruled
his objections to Garza being dismissed. (D.E. 14, pp. 6-7).
On the other hand, the district judge stated that
“Costilla's individual-capacity claims for monetary
relief remain pending against all named defendants except
Stephens.” (D.E. 14, p. 11). The undersigned finds the
district judge did not intend to retain Defendant Garza
because her July 1, 2016 Memorandum and Order carefully
considers the claims against this defendant as well as
Plaintiff's objections to his dismissal. Additionally,
the dismissal of Defendant Garza for lack of personal
involvement is appropriate whether he is sued in his
individual capacity, official capacity or both. The district
judge's intent can be clarified with an order adopting or
rejecting this memorandum and recommendation.
undersigned entered a supplemental service order, ordering
service on defendants Ken Putnam, John Crouch, and Juan
Salazar. (D.E. 15). These defendants filed an answer. (D.E.
16). Defendants Putnam, Crouch, and Salazar subsequently
filed a motion for a summary judgment. (D.E. 22).
undersigned entered an M&R recommending the
defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted. (D.E.
26). Additionally, the undersigned recommended all of
Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief, including those
against defendant Warden Matt Barber, be dismissed because
Plaintiff has been released from custody. (D.E. 26, pp. 4-5).
Claims for declaratory and injunctive relief based on the
conditions of confinement are rendered moot upon a
prisoner's release from custody or transfer to another
facility. Smith v. City of Tupelo, Mississippi, 281
Fed.Appx. 279, 282 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing Herman v.
Holiday, 238 F.3d 660, 665 (5th Cir. 2001)). The
undersigned recommended the dismissal of Defendant Barber
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(e)(2)(B) which mandates
dismissal “at any time” if the court determines
that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief
may be granted” or “is frivolous or
malicious.” 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). See also Souza
v. FMC-Carswell, No. 4:09-CV-469-Y, 2011 WL 611703, at
*1 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 18, 2011) (dismissing plaintiffs claims
for declaratory and injunctive relief under §
1915(e)(2)(B) because she was no longer incarcerated at the
prison in which her condition-of-confinement claims arose).
January 19, 2018, the district judge adopted the
undersigned's memorandum and recommendation and granted
the moving defendant's motion for summary judgment. (D.E.
30). Additionally, the district judge dismissed Plaintiffs
claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against
Defendant Warden Barber. The Court's January 19, 2018
order disposed of all of Plaintiff's remaining claims.
Therefore, the undersigned respectfully recommends the Court
enter final judgement.
submitted this 25th day of January, 2018.
Clerk will file this Memorandum and Recommendation and
transmit a copy to each party or counsel. Within
FOURTEEN (14) DAYS after being served with a
copy of the Memorandum and Recommendation, a party may file
with the Clerk and serve on the United States Magistrate
Judge and all parties, written objections, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), General Order
No. 2002-13, United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas.
party's failure to file written objections to the
proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendation in a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation within
FOURTEEN (14) DAYS after being served with a copy shall bar
that party, except upon grounds of plain error, from
attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual
findings and legal conclusions accepted ...