from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:15-cv-22910-UU
TJOFLAT, MARCUS, and ROSENBAUM, Circuit Judges.
Dixon, a Florida prisoner proceeding pro se, appeals
from the District Court's grant of a motion to dismiss
his civil rights complaint (filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364
(1994). The Heck rule, as extended by Edwards v.
Balisok, strips a district court of jurisdiction in a
§ 1983 suit brought by an imprisoned plaintiff "if
'a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily
imply the invalidity'" of a punishment that
"deprive[d] him of good-time credits, " also
referred to as gain time. 520 U.S. 641, 643, 117 S.Ct. 1584,
1586 (1997) (quoting Heck, 512 U.S. at 487, 114
S.Ct. at 2372).
was punished and lost gain time, but his § 1983 suit, if
successful, would not necessarily imply that his
punishment is invalid. Because success in this § 1983
suit would not necessarily be "logically
contradictory" with the underlying punishment, this suit
is not barred by Heck. See Dyer v. Lee, 488
F.3d 876, 884 (11th Cir. 2007). The District Court erred by
concluding otherwise and dismissing the complaint. We
accordingly vacate the judgment and remand.
district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction presents a legal question that we review de
novo. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. U.S. Army Corps
of Eng'rs, 619 F.3d 1289, 1296 (11th Cir. 2010). On
review, the allegations in the complaint must be accepted as
true and construed in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Maradiaga v. United States, 679 F.3d
1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2012). We also construe pro se
pleadings liberally. Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d
870, 874 (11th Cir. 2008). Therefore, we state the facts as
alleged in Dixon's liberally-construed complaint, viewed
in the light most favorable to him.
2013, prison officials at Everglades Correctional Institution
in Miami assigned an elderly, handicapped inmate to the top
bunk in Dixon's cell. This inmate was unable to reach the
top bunk due to his disability. Dixon went to the
officers' station to discuss this issue on August 12,
2013. Officer Nathan Pollock was present, among others.
tried to explain the problem to the officers, but they
refused to listen to him. As Dixon continued to speak,
Pollock began to shout at him. Dixon asked Pollock why he was
shouting, and Pollock leapt out of his chair, approached
Dixon threateningly, and told him to return to his assigned
dormitory. Dixon turned to leave. After that, Pollock stepped
on his right heel, tripping him. Pollock then picked Dixon up
from the cement floor and slammed him down into it. Pollock
proceeded to kick Dixon in his face and body for about two
minutes before other officers approached and handcuffed
Dixon. Dixon suffered serious injuries as a result. His shirt
was soaked in blood and his face became unrecognizable from
swelling. He fractured his ribs, bruised his sternum, lost
eyesight and was unable to walk for a time, and suffered a
version of events differs significantly from Dixon's.
Pollock claims that Dixon ignored several orders to leave the
officers' station. After Dixon finally did turn to leave,
he made a fist with his hand and turned back to lunge at
Pollock. Pollock contends that he used appropriate force in a
manner necessary to subdue Dixon and that no medical
professional ever found evidence of any trauma or injury
suffered by Dixon as a result of this incident. On August 23,
2013, Dixon received a disciplinary report including one
charge of Battery or Attempted Battery on a Correctional
Officer. He was found guilty, and his punishment included a
loss of gain time.
August 4, 2015, Dixon filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C
§ 1983 alleging, inter alia, that Pollock used
excessive force against him on August 12, 2013, in violation
of his constitutional rights. Pollock moved to dismiss the
complaint for a failure to exhaust administrative remedies
and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under
Heck, and Pollock further moved for summary
judgment. The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") recommending that
Pollock's motion to dismiss be granted on the basis of
Heck (but that it was due to be denied on exhaustion
grounds) and recommending that Pollock's motion for
summary judgment be denied as moot. The District Court
adopted the R&R and dismissed the complaint, and Dixon
filed this appeal.
long as it is possible that a § 1983 suit would not
negate the underlying [punishment], then the suit is not
Heck-barred." Dyer, 488 F.3d at 879-
80. Heck bars a § 1983 suit only when it is a
"logical necessity" that judgment for the plaintiff
in that suit would contradict the existing punishment.
Id. at 879. So long as "there would still exist
a construction of the facts that would allow ...