United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
AMENDED  MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION
TO DENY DIRECTOR DAVIS'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE
B. Libby United States Magistrate Judge.
William Darrell Edwards is an inmate appearing pro
se and in forma pauperis. In this prisoner
civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Plaintiff claims that his due process and equal protection
rights were violated when his custody classification level
was lowered to a more restrictive level. Pending before the
Court is a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by
Defendant Lorie Davis. (D.E. 12). For the reasons stated
herein, it is respectfully recommended that the Court
DENY this motion.
Court has federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. This case has been referred to the undersigned
magistrate judge for case management and making
recommendations on dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
is a prisoner at the McConnell Unit of the TDCJ. He is
currently serving several life sentences on four convictions
for aggravated sexual assault of a child and two twenty-year
sentences on convictions for indecency with a child by sexual
contact. These convictions were entered on December 19, 2001,
in Potter County, Texas.
sues the following defendants: (1) TDCJ Director Lorie Davis;
and (2) Joni White, the TDCJ Assistant
Director-Classifications and Records. Plaintiff claims that
his due process and equal protection rights were violated
when the TDCJ applied a new policy to reclassify Plaintiff
from his G2 custody classification level to the more
restrictive G3 classification level. Plaintiff seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief.
evidentiary hearing was held on August 8, 2018. On August 21,
2018, the undersigned issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
(August 21, 2018 M&R), recommending that the Court retain
Plaintiffs equal protection claim against TDCJ Director Davis
in her official capacity for injunctive and declaratory
relief. (D.E. 8, pp. 7-9). The undersigned determined that
TDCJ Director Davis, as opposed to Defendant White was more
likely to have the authority to grant the injunctive relief
requested by Plaintiff. (D.E. 8, p. 8). The undersigned
further recommended that the Court dismiss all remaining
claims and Defendant White for failure to state a claim
and/or as frivolous. (D.E. 8, p. 9). The undersigned ordered
service of Plaintiff's complaint on Director Davis. (D.E.
October 5, 2018, Director Davis filed a Motion to Dismiss.
(D.E. 12). On March 14, 2019, the undersigned issued a
Memorandum and Recommendation (March 14, 2019 M&R).
recommending that Director Davis's Motion to Dismiss be
denied. (D.E. 19). The undersigned first determined in the
March 14, 2019 M&R that Plaintiffs request for
prospective injunctive relief against Director Davis should
not be barred by the Eleventh Amendment because Plaintiff has
stated a plausible equal protection claim against Director
Davis and, "therefore, should have the opportunity to
engage in discovery and prove both his claim and entitlement
to the prospective injunctive relief requested." (D.E.
19, p. 7). The undersigned later explained that Plaintiff had
alleged sufficient facts to make a "class of one"
equal protection claim. (D.E. 19, p. 9). Thus, the
undersigned concluded that dismissal of Plaintiff's claim
was not appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). (D.E. 19).
District Judge Hilda G. Tagle subsequently adopted both the
August 21, 2018 M&R and the March 14, 2019 M&R. (D.E.
26). On April 12, 2019, Director Davis filed her answer,
asserting the defense of qualified immunity. (D.E. 21). In a
scheduling order, the undersigned directed that: (1)
discovery in this case is due to expire on September 13,
2019; and (2) dispositive motions are due to be filed on or
before the same date. (D.E. 22).
10, 2019, Director Davis filed a Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).
(D.E. 28). Director Davis subsequently submitted a supplement
to her Rule 12(c) motion. (D.E. 31). On July 11, 2019,
Plaintiff filed his response. (D.E. 32).
following representations relevant to Plaintiffs equal
protection claim against Director Davis were made either in
Plaintiffs original complaint (D.E. 1) or at the evidentiary
hearing: In January 2002, Plaintiff entered into the TDCJ
prison system and was subsequently classified at the G3
custody level in late March 2002.
the G3 custody level, inmates are only allowed to have
certain jobs such as working in the kitchen. In contrast,
inmates with a G2 custody level have more favorable options
with regard to jobs assignments within the prison. G2
prisoners also have the ability to learn a trade. With regard
to housing, G3 inmates are assigned to the main building in a
two-man cell where the cell door is locked during the day.