Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clay v. Collier

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division

November 19, 2019

KENNETH CLAY, TDCJ # 02228320, Plaintiff,
v.
BRYAN COLLIER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JEFFREY VINCENT BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Kenneth Clay, an inmate in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice- Correctional Institutions Division (“TDCJ”), filed a civil-rights complaint (Dkt. 1) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because this case is governed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court is required to scrutinize the pleadings and dismiss the complaint in whole or in part if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After reviewing all of the pleadings as required, the Court concludes that this case must be DISMISSED for reasons that follow.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Clay alleges in this lawsuit that he has served his sentences and should be released from TDCJ. According to TDCJ's online records, Clay was convicted of fraud in 2018 in Travis County, Case Number D-1-DC-18-202378, and sentenced to two years. See Offender Information, available at https://offender.tdcj.texas.gov/ OffenderSearch/index.jsp (last visited Nov. 19, 2019). He also was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2019 in Bastrop County, Case No. 16686, and sentenced to three years. See id.

         Clay's complaint does not make allegations about the conditions of his confinement or raise a claim that is traditionally presented in a civil-rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Rather, Clay alleges that Defendants have “refused to acknowledge” that his “[three-]year sentence ran concurrent with a two[-]year sentence” and that he “should have been released on May 23, 2019” (Dkt. 1, at 5). He claims that Defendants have violated the Fourteenth Amendment's due-process guarantee. He seeks injunctive relief and compensatory damages. See id. (“I would like this situation to be rectified and I would like to be compensated”).

         TDCJ's online records list Clay's projected release date as January 2, 2021. They also reflect that the parole board denied him release to discretionary mandatory supervision on February 5, 2019, and that his next parole review date is in February 2020. See Parole Review Information for Kenneth Clay (available at https://offender. tdcj.texas.gov/OffenderSearch/reviewDetail.action?sid=02871105&tdcj=02228320&full Name=CLAY%2CKENNETH) (last visited Nov. 19, 2019).

         Publicly available court records reflect that Clay filed an application for state habeas relief (WR-54, 591-02) with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on October 2, 2019, challenging his Bastrop County conviction. See Case Information, Texas Judicial Branch, available at http://search.txcourts.gov/CaseSearch.aspx?coa=cossup=c (last visited Nov. 19, 2019). The court denied relief without written order on October 16, 2019 (id.).[1]

         II. THE PLRA AND PRO SE PLEADINGS

         Because the plaintiff is an inmate bringing a civil-rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Court is required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) to scrutinize the claims and dismiss the complaint at any time, in whole or in part, if it determines that the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).

         In reviewing the pleadings and litigation history, the Court is mindful of the fact that Plaintiff proceeds pro se. Complaints filed by pro se litigants are entitled to a liberal construction and, “however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Even under this lenient standard a pro se plaintiff must allege more than “‘labels and conclusions' or a ‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citation omitted). Regardless of how well-pleaded the factual allegations may be, they must demonstrate that the plaintiff is entitled to relief under a valid legal theory. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); McCormick v. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir. 1997).

         A claim is frivolous if it lacks any arguable basis in law or fact. Samford v. Dretke, 562 F.3d 674, 678 (5th Cir. 2009). It lacks an arguable basis in law “if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Rogers v. Boatright, 709 F.3d 403, 407 (5th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). It lacks an arguable basis in fact “if, after providing the plaintiff the opportunity to present additional facts when necessary, the facts alleged are clearly baseless.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         A dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim is governed by the same standard under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Rogers, 709 F.3d at 407. When considering whether the plaintiff has adequately stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court examines whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Under this standard, the Court “construes the complaint liberally in favor of the plaintiff, ” “takes all facts pleaded in the complaint as true, ” and considers whether “with every doubt resolved on [the plaintiff's] behalf, the complaint states any valid claim for relief.” Harrington v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 563 F.3d 141, 147 (5th Cir. 2009) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Clay filed this civil-rights lawsuit challenging his continued incarceration after May 23, 2019, when he claims his sentences were ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.