United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on an
amended complaint filed by Douglas John Howell, an indigent
state inmate. In this case, Howell alleges that members of
the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles recently barred him
from further parole consideration based on a law passed after
his 2005 conviction for first degree rape in violation of the
Ex Post Facto Clause, due process and equal protection. Doc.
5 at 5. Howell seeks only his return to parole eligibility.
Doc. 5 at 4.
August 21, 2018, Howell filed a motion for dismissal of this
case in which he states that this case is “now moot . .
. [a]s the plaintiff has been granted his requested
relief[.]” Doc. 44 at 1.
do not sit to render advisory opinions. North Carolina v.
Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246 (1971). An actual controversy
must exist at all times during the pendency of a case.
Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 n.10 (1974).
In cases where the only relief requested is injunctive in
nature, events which occur subsequent to the filing of the
complaint can render the matter moot. National Black
Police Assoc. 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 (2nd Cir.
1977) (change in policy).
III of the United States Constitution confers jurisdiction on
the district courts to hear and determine “cases”
or “controversies.” The mootness doctrine derives
directly from the case or controversy limitation because
“an action that is moot cannot be characterized as an
active case or controversy.” Adler v. Duval County
Sch. Bd., 112 F.3d 1475, 1477 (11th Cir. 1997).
“Put another way, ‘a case is moot when it no
longer presents a live controversy with respect to which the
court can give meaningful relief.'” Florida
Ass'n of Rehab. Facilities, Inc. v. Florida Dep't of
Health and Rehab. Servs., 225 F.3d 1208, 1216-17 (11th
Cir. 2000) (quoting Ethredge v. Hail, 996 F.2d 1173,
1175 (11th Cir. 1993)); Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83,
95 (1968) (“Where the question sought to be adjudicated
has been mooted by developments subsequent to filing of the
complaint, no justiciable controversy is presented.”);
Saladin v. Milledgeville, 812 F.2d 687, 693 (11th
Cir. 1987) (“A case is moot when the issues presented
are no longer ‘live' or the parties lack a legally
cognizable interest in the outcome of the litigation, such as
where . . . interim relief or events have eradicated the
effects of the alleged violation.”); Powell v.
McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496 (1969) (“[A] case is
moot when the issues presented are no longer ‘live'
or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the
actions occur subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit whereby
the plaintiff obtains the requested relief, the case is then
moot and must be dismissed. See, e.g., Hall v.
Beals, 396 U.S. 45, 48 (1969) (per curiam). In such
instances, dismissal is required because mootness is
jurisdictional. See Florida Ass'n of Rehab.
Facilities, 225 F.3d at 1227 n.14 (“The question
of mootness is . . . one which a federal court must resolve
before it assumes jurisdiction [over the merits of a
complaint].”). “Any decision on the merits of a
moot case or issue would be an impermissible advisory
opinion.” Id. at 1217 (citing Hall,
396 U.S. at 48, 90 S.Ct. at 201-02).
undisputed that Howell has received the relief requested in
his complaint as the defendants have determined he is
eligible for parole and scheduled his parole consideration
for September 25, 2018. Under the circumstances of this case,
the request for injunctive relief, the only relief sought by
Howell, is moot. County of Los Angeles v. Davis, 440
U.S. 625, 631 (1979); Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478,
481-82 (1982); Cotterall v. Paul, 755 F.2d 777, 780
(11th Cir. 1985) (holding that past exposure to potential
illegal conduct does not in and of 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). Thus, Howell's motion to dismiss is
due to be granted.
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:
1. The motion to dismiss filed by the plaintiff on August 21,
2018 (Doc. 44) be GRANTED.
2. This case be DISMISSED without prejudice ...