United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker, United States Magistrate Judge
is an inmate in the custody of the Alabama Department of
Corrections. He files this pro se 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action alleging that rights, privileges, or immunities
afforded him under the Constitution or laws of the United
States are being abridged by the named defendants. Plaintiff
names as defendants former Governor Robert Bentley,
Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, and Captain Brenda King.
Plaintiff seeks damages for the alleged violations of his
constitutional rights. Docs. 1, 11. Upon review, the court
concludes that dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against
Defendant Bentley prior to service of process is appropriate
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
action is before the court on Plaintiff's complaint and
amendment to the complaint. Plaintiff complains that his
constitutional rights were violated at the Draper
Correctional Facility when Defendant King re-initiated a
disciplinary against him regarding an infraction previously
thrown out. Defendant King's actions, Plaintiff claims,
led to “contract hits” on his head which caused
him to be “jumped on” and sent to lock up. Docs.
noted, Plaintiff names as one of the defendants former
Governor Bentley. A review of the complaint and amendment
reflects no allegations that Defendant Bentley is or was
personally engaged in the alleged unconstitutional conduct
about which he complains. “[S]ection 1983 requires
proof of an affirmative causal connection between the actions
taken by a particular person under color of state law and the
constitutional deprivation.” LaMarca v.
Turner, 995 F.2d 1526, 1538 (11th Cir. 1993) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). This Circuit has held
that a court properly dismisses defendants where a prisoner,
other than naming the defendant in the caption, states no
allegations that associate the defendants with the alleged
constitutional violation. Douglas v. Yates, 535 F.3d
1316, 1322 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Pamel Corp. v. P.R.
Highway Auth., 621 F.2d 33, 36 (1st Cir. 1980)
(“While we do not require technical niceties in
pleading, we must demand that the complaint state with some
minimal particularity how overt acts of the defendant caused
a legal wrong.”)); see also Potter v. Clark,
497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974) (per curiam).
Here, Plaintiff has identified no affirmative action taken by
Defendant Bentley, and thus, he asserts no connection between
the conduct complained of and the actions of this defendant
regarding the alleged unconstitutional deprivations. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp., v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570
(2007)) (“[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.' A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”).
extent that the basis for Plaintiff's claim against
Defendant Bentley is that he is responsible for the conduct
of his subordinates, supervisory personnel can be held liable
under § 1983 for a constitutional violation of one of
their subordinates via a theory of respondeat
superior or on the basis of vicarious liability.
Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
691-95 (1978) (doctrine of respondeat superior is
inapplicable to § 1983 actions); Belcher v. City of
Foley, 30 F.3d 1390, 1396 (11th Cir. 1994) (42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 does not allow a plaintiff to hold supervisory
officials liable for the actions of their subordinates under
either a theory of respondeat superior or vicarious
liability); see also Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d
1352, 1360 (11th Cir. 2003) (holding that a supervisory
official is liable only if he “personally
participate[d] in the alleged unconstitutional conduct or
[if] there is a causal connection between [his] actions ...
and the alleged constitutional deprivation.”) Because
Plaintiff fails to allege that Defendant Bentley was
personally involved in the constitutional violations about
which he complains, or that a causal connection exists
between his actions and the alleged constitutional
violations, the complaint and amendment against this
defendant is subject to dismissal on this basis as well.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:
Plaintiff's complaint and amendment against Defendant
Bentley be DISMISSED without prejudice prior to service of
process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii);
Defendant Bentley be DISMISSED as a party to this action; and
action be referred to the undersigned for further proceedings
against the remaining defendants.
that on or before March 20, 2018, Plaintiff
may file an objection to the Recommendation. Any objection
filed must specifically identify the factual findings and
legal conclusions in the Magistrate Judge's
Recommendation to which Plaintiff objects. Frivolous,
conclusive or general objections will not be considered by
the District Court. This Recommendation is not a final order
and, therefore, it is not appealable.
to file a written objection to the proposed findings and
recommendations in the Magistrate Judge's report shall
bar a party from a de novo determination by the
District Court of factual findings and legal issues covered
in the report and shall “waive the right to challenge
on appeal the district court's order based on
unobjected-to factual and legal conclusions” except
upon grounds of plain error if necessary in the interests of
justice. 11th Cir. R. 3-1; see Resolution ...