United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
VANESSA D. GILMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Terry Moore, an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice - Correctional Institutions Division
("TDCJ-CID"), sued in June 2019, alleging civil
rights violations resulting from a denial of due process.
Moore, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, sues the
following officials at the Pack I Unit: Robert Herrera, Head
Warden; Paul Wilder, Assistant Warden; Raul Mendoza,
Correctional Officer V; and Courtney Mitchell, Correctional
threshold issue is whether Moore's claims should be
dismissed as frivolous.
asserts that he stored certain food items in containers he
previously purchased from the unit commissary. In his
grievances, Moore states that he stored Colombian coffee and
an electrolyte mixture in peanut butter jars. (Docket Entry
No. 1, p. 6). He complains that his property was confiscated
on the ground that it was contraband.
asserts that Warden Herrera and Assistant Warden Wilder
allowed officers to conduct searches of inmate property
without knowledge of TDCJ policy. He asserts that Officer
Mendoza confiscated five family photographs and eight
magazines. In the response to Moore's grievance, prison
officials stated that the photographs and magazines had a
different TDCJ-CID inmate number and that Moore had
instructed the officer to throw them away. (Docket Entry No.
1, p. 14). Moore alleges that Officer Mitchell failed to
issue confiscation papers following the search of inmate
property on December 1, 2018.
seeks unspecified compensatory damages.
Standard of Review
federal court has the authority to dismiss an action in which
the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis before service
if the court determines that the action is frivolous or
malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A complaint is
frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.
See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992);
Richardson v. Spurlock, 260 F.3d 495, 498 (5th Cir.
2001) (citing Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d 191, 193
(5th Cir. 1997)). "A complaint lacks an arguable basis
in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory, such as if the complaint alleges the violation of a
legal interest which clearly does not exist." Davis
v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting
McCormick v. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir.
The Due Process Claim
inmate's allegation that his property was lost or
damaged, or its receipt delayed by a prison official, does
not state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, even when the
prison official acted intentionally. Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517(1984). In Texas, when an
inmate's property is taken without compensation, he has a
remedy in state court, not a federal court claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for loss or damage to property, unless
there is no post-deprivation remedy or the remedy is
inadequate. Marshall v. Norwood, 741 F.2d 761, 764
(5th Cir. 1984). Moore has made neither of the required
showings. His claim against the defendants lacks an arguable
basis in law.
The Claim Based on an Inadequate Grievance System
alleges that the defendants violated his civil rights by
failing to resolve the complaints presented in his
grievances. "A prisoner has a liberty interest only in
freedoms from restraint imposing atypical and significant
hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents
of prison life." Geiger v. Jowers, 404 F.3d
371, 373-74 (5th Cir. 2005) (internal citation and quotation
omitted). An inmate does not have a constitutionally
protected liberty interest in having grievances resolved to
his satisfaction. There is no due process violation when
prison officials fail to do so. Geiger v. Jowers,404 F.3d 371, 373-74 (5th Cir. 2005); see also Edmond v.
Martin, et ah, slip op. no. 95-60666 (5th Cir., Oct. 2,
1996) (unpublished) (prisoner's claim that a defendant
"failed to investigate and denied his grievance"
raises no constitutional issue); Thomas v. Lensing, et
ah, slip op. no. 01-30658 (5th Cir., Dec. 11, 2001)
(unpublished) (same). The defendants' alleged failure to
address the grievances to ...