United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
WILLIE J. TURNER, #125 701, Plaintiff,
CYNTHIA DILLARD, Defendant.
F. MOORER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate incarcerated at the Bullock Correctional Facility
in Union Springs, Alabama, files this 42 U.S.C. § 1983
complaint against Cynthia Dillard [“Dillard”],
Executive Director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and
Paroles. Plaintiff alleges Dillard violated his Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights regarding matters associated with
the denial of his parole in September of 2013. Plaintiff
requests trial by jury and seeks declaratory relief and
damages for the alleged violations of his constitutional
rights. Doc. 1.
filed a special report and supporting evidentiary materials
addressing Plaintiff's claims for relief. Docs. 15, 20,
21. Upon receipt of Dillard's special report, the court
issued an order directing Plaintiff to file a response,
including sworn affidavits and other evidentiary materials,
and specifically cautioning Plaintiff that “the court
may at any time thereafter and without notice to the parties
(1) treat the special report and any supporting evidentiary
materials as a motion for summary judgment.” Doc. 22 at
2. Plaintiff responded to Dillard's report, see
Doc. 26, but his response does not demonstrate there is any
genuine issue of material fact. See Doc. 22 at 2.
The court will treat Dillard's report as a motion for
summary judgment, and resolves this motion in her favor.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine
[dispute] as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Greenberg v. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d
1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)
(“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.”). The party moving for summary judgment
“always bears the initial responsibility of informing
the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of the [record, including
pleadings, discovery materials and affidavits], which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine [dispute] of
material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by
presenting evidence indicating there is no dispute of
material fact or by showing the non-moving party has failed
to present evidence to support some element on which it bears
the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-324.
have met their evidentiary burden. Thus, the burden shifts to
Plaintiff to establish, with appropriate evidence beyond the
pleadings, that a genuine dispute material to his case
exists. Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d
604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324;
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3); Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox,
Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-594 (11th Cir. 1995) (holding
that, once the moving party meets its burden, “the
non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by
its own affidavits [or sworn statements], or by depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ”
demonstrate there is a genuine dispute of material fact)
(internal quotations omitted). This court will also consider
“specific facts” pled in a plaintiff's sworn
complaint when considering his opposition to summary
judgment. Caldwell v. Warden, FCI
Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014). A
genuine dispute of material fact exists when the non-moving
party produces evidence that would allow a reasonable
fact-finder to return a verdict in its favor.
Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263; Allen v. Bd. of
Public Educ, 495 F.3d 1306, 1313 (11th Cir. 2007).
factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable
to the non- moving party and pro se complaints are
entitled to liberal interpretation by the courts, a pro
se litigant does not escape the burden of establishing
by sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact.
See Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 525 (2006);
Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir.
1990). Plaintiff s pro se status alone does not
compel this court to disregard elementary principles of
production and proof in a civil case.
is serving a 129-year sentence on his convictions for
robbery, second degree robbery, and promoting prison
contraband in the second degree. The Circuit Court for
Madison County, Alabama, entered judgment against Plaintiff
on the robbery convictions in March of 1984. The Circuit
Court for Limestone County, Alabama, sentenced Plaintiff to a
concurrent term of 15 years imprisonment on the promotion of
prison contraband conviction in May of 1990. Id. The
denial of parole relevant to this cause of action occurred in
September of 2013 when parole board members William Wynne,
Jr. and Cliff Walker voted to deny Plaintiff parole. Doc. 15,
Exh. A, Doc. 20 - Walker Affidavit; Doc. 21, Wynne Affidavit.
The board members scheduled Plaintiffs next parole
consideration for September of 2018. Doc. 15, Exh. A.
files this § 1983 action claiming Dillard violated his
constitutional rights by failing to properly consider him for
parole despite his cooperation with prison officials as
instructed in a previous notification informing him he had
been denied parole. Plaintiff also complains Dillard has
never evaluated him or spoken with him about his future plans
in order to assess his suitability for parole, she has failed
to inform him what he must accomplish to be released on
parole, and she has arbitrarily and maliciously discriminated
against him to deny him parole. Dillard's actions,
Plaintiff claims, have violated his right to due process and
equal protection and subjected him to cruel and unusual
punishment. Doc. 1.
Official Capacity Claims
extent Plaintiff seeks to sue Dillard in her official
capacity, she is entitled to sovereign immunity under the
Eleventh Amendment for claims seeking monetary damages from
her in her official capacity. Lancaster v. Monroe
Cnty.,116 F.3d 1419, 1429 (11th Cir. 1997); Jackson
v. Ga. Dep't of Transp.,16 F.3d 1573, 1575 (11th
Cir. 1994); Parker v. Williams,862 F.2d 1471 (11th
Cir. 1989). Plaintiff may also not seek a declaratory
judgment or injunction against the Alabama Board of Pardons
and Paroles, as the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its
officials (in their official capacities) are entitled to
absolute Eleventh Amendment immunity against these forms of
relief. See Edelman v. Jordan,415 ...