United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate incarcerated at the Elmore County Jail in Wetumpka,
Alabama, when he filed this pro se 42 U.S.C. §
1983, challenges various conditions to which he was subjected
during his incarceration at the county jail. Plaintiff
requests an investigation of the jail and county courthouse,
Defendant Henline be removed as warden, charges be brought
against officers for violating the law, and the public be
made aware of jail conditions via the media. Doc. 1.
complains that while incarcerated at the Elmore County Jail
Defendants subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of
confinement, denied him access to the grievance procedure,
interfered with his mail, and failed to provide adequate
medical care. It recently came to the court's attention
that Plaintiff is no longer confined at the Elmore City Jail.
Based on Plaintiff s complaint and the specific relief
sought, the undersigned concludes Plaintiffs complaint is due
to be dismissed as moot.
do not sit to render advisory opinions. North Carolina v.
Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246 (1971). An actual controversy
must exist when the case is pending. Steffel v.
Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 n.10 (1974). Where the only
relief requested is injunctive, it is possible for events
subsequent to filing the complaint to make the matter moot.
National Black Police Ass'n v. District of
Columbia, 108 F.3d 346, 350 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (change in
statute); Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823
(4th Cir. 1991) (transfer of prisoner); Tawwab v.
Metz, 554 F.2d 22, 23 (2d Cir. 1977) (change in policy).
becomes moot when the controversy between the parties is no
longer alive because one party has no further concern in the
outcome. Weinstein v. Bradford, 423 U.S. 147 (1975);
Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 95 (1968) (“[N]o
justiciable controversy is presented . . . when the question
sought to be adjudicated has been mooted by
developments” subsequent to filing of the complaint.).
Article III of the United States Constitution confers
jurisdiction on the district courts to hear and determine
“cases” or “controversies.” U.S.
Const. Art. III, 2. Federal courts may On March 2,
2018, the court received correspondence from the Elmore
County Sheriff's Department indicating Plaintiff was no
longer in their custody. Doc. 9. not rule upon questions
hypothetical in nature or which do not affect the rights of
the parties. Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494
US. 472, 477 (1990). “Article III requires that a
plaintiff's claim be live not just when he first brings
suit, but throughout the litigation.” Tucker v.
Phyfer, 819 F.2d 1030, 1034 (11th Cir. 1987). Because
mootness is jurisdictional, dismissal is required when an
action is moot, as a decision in a moot action would be an
impermissible advisory opinion. Al Najjar v.
Ashcroft, 273 F.3d 1330, 1336 (11th Cir. 2001).
relief is a prospective remedy, intended to prevent future
injuries.” Adler v. Duval County School Bd.,
112 F.3d 1475, 1477 (11th Cir. 1997). For that reason,
“[w]hen the threat of future harm dissipates, the
plaintiff's claims for equitable relief become moot
because the plaintiff no longer needs protection from future
injury.” Id.; Church v. City of
Huntsville, 30 F.3d 1332, 1337 (11th Cir. 1994)
(citation omitted) (“Logically, ‘a prospective
remedy will provide no relief for an injury that is, and
likely will remain, entirely in the past.'”). In
the context of a § 1983 action filed by a prisoner, such
as this, a prayer for declaratory or injunctive relief
becomes moot upon the transfer or release of that prisoner
from the facility where his cause of action arose. See,
e.g., Wahl v. McIver, 773 F.2d 1169, 1173 (11th Cir.
1985) (“[A] n inmate's claim for injunctive and
declaratory relief in a section 1983 action fails to present
a case or controversy once the inmate has been
is no longer an inmate at the Elmore County Jail. He is,
therefore, no longer subject to the conditions about which he
complains when he filed the instant lawsuit. There is no
indication Plaintiff will be returned to the Elmore County
Jail, much less be returned in the immediate future.
“‘Past exposure to illegal conduct does not in
itself show a pending case or controversy regarding
injunctive relief if unaccompanied by any continuing, present
injury or real and immediate threat of repeated
injury.'” Cotterall v. Paul, 755 F.2d 777,
780 (11th Cir. 1985), quoting Dudley v. Stewart, 724
F.2d 1493, 1494 (11th Cir. 1984). Absent is any showing of a
“continuing, present injury or real and immediate
threat of repeated injury” to Plaintiff. See
Id. (finding that a transfer of the plaintiff back to
the county jail if he was again incarcerated at a minimum
security facility and charged with a disciplinary infraction
was too speculative to satisfy the required injury element).
the court would afford the Plaintiff an opportunity to show
cause why his complaint should not be dismissed. However,
mail containing two orders sent to the Plaintiff at his last
known address has been returned to the Court with the
following notation: “returned to sender-not
here.” In an order entered on February 22, 2018, the
Plaintiff was advised that he should “immediately
inform the court and Defendants or Defendants' counsel of
record of any change in his address. Failure to provide a
correct address to this court within ten (10) days following
any change of address will result in the dismissal of this
action.” Doc. 3. Accordingly, that court concludes that
it would be futile to attempt any further communications with
light of the foregoing, the court finds Plaintiff's
complaint is now moot. Because there is no present case or
controversy to support the court's jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's claims against the named defendants, the
complaint is due to be dismissed without prejudice for lack
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that
Plaintiff's complaint be DISMISSED without prejudice for
lack of jurisdiction.
that on or before April 12, 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 object. Frivolous,