United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
STEPHEN M. DOYLE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is an inmate in the custody of the Alabama Department of
Corrections. He filed this pro se 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action alleging a violation of his Eighth Amendment
rights after being assaulted by another inmate while confined
at the Draper Correctional Facility in May of
2017. His Complaint for damages is filed against
Governor Kay Ivey, Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, and
Commissioner Eddington. (Doc. 1). Upon review, the
undersigned concludes that dismissal of Plaintiff's
Complaint prior to service of process is appropriate under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Defendants Ivey, Dunn, and Eddington
2017, while housed in segregation, Plaintiff requested a
morning walk. After securing Plaintiff with leg irons,
handcuffs, and a belly chain, guards took him and other
inmates on a walk. Subsequently, another inmate housed in
close custody was also brought out for a walk. Correctional
officers, however, had not secured the inmate with a belly
chain or leg irons. Plaintiff maintains the inmate stabbed
him and two other inmates and he received medical treatment
because of the assault. (Doc. 1) at 6.
references a report issued by the Department of Justice in
April 2019, a copy of which he maintains was sent to
Defendant Ivey, which concluded there is reason to believe
that conditions in the Alabama state prisons violate the
Eighth Amendment to include a failure to protect prisoners
from inmate-on-inmate violence. To the extent Plaintiff
attempts to implicate Defendants Ivey, Dunn, and Eddington
regarding the specific incident at Draper about which he
complains through the concept of respondeat superior, he is
entitled to no relief.
§ 1983 action will not support a claim under a theory of
respondeat superior. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 676 (2009) (holding doctrine of respondeat superior is
inapplicable to § 1983 actions). The Iqbal
Court clarified that a government official sued in his/her
individual capacity for alleged constitutionally tortious
behavior cannot be held liable on a respondeat superior
theory or on the basis of some general connection to
allegedly responsible individuals or actions. Id. at
676-77 (holding “[g]overnment officials may not be held
liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates
under a theory of respondeat superior. . . . [A] plaintiff
must plead that each Government-official defendant, through
the official's own actions, has violated the
Constitution. . . . [P]urpose rather than knowledge is
required to impose [constitutional] liability on . . . an
official charged with violations arising from his or her
superintendent responsibilities”); Monell v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-95 (1978)
(holding doctrine of respondeat superior is inapplicable to
§ 1983 actions); Belcher v. City of Foley, 30
F.3d 1390, 1396 (11th Cir. 1994) (holding 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.”); Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d
1422, 1428 (7th Cir. 1996) (holding “a prisoner may not
attribute any of his constitutional claims to higher
officials by the doctrine of respondeat superior; the
official must actually have participated in the
on this standard, Plaintiff has alleged nothing to
affirmatively link Defendants Ivey, Dunn, and Eddington to
the alleged violation of his constitutional rights regarding
the May 2017 inmate assault. To the extent Plaintiff
essentially claims that the named defendants are liable under
§ 1983 as, respectively, a Governor, a prison
commissioner, and associate prison commissioner, without
alleging any fact from which it can be inferred that they
knew of or acted deliberately towards Plaintiff's safety
regarding the challenged incident, is insufficient.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's failure to protect claim against
Defendants Ivey, Dunn, and Eddington is due to be dismissed.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
complains the inmate assault about which he complains
resulted from the negligence of the prison guards who failed
to secure the inmate who assaulted him with a belly chain and
leg irons. Even if granted an opportunity to amend his
Complaint to name the guards as defendants, Plaintiff's
negligence claim against them would entitle him to no relief.
Constitution is not implicated by negligent acts of an
official causing unintended loss of life, liberty or
property. Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986).
Here, Plaintiff's contention that prison guards acted
negligently by failing to more fully secure the inmate who
assaulted him shows, at most, a lack of due care by prison
officials which is not actionable under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The protections of the Constitution “are just not
triggered by lack of due care by prison officials.”
Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 348 (1986);
Daniels, 474 U.S. at 333; see also Whitley v.
Albers, 475 U.S. at 319 (holding that a violation of the
Eighth Amendment must involve “more than an ordinary
lack of due care for the prisoner's . . . safety”).
Based on the foregoing, the undersigned concludes that the
alleged negligent conduct about which Plaintiff complains
does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that this
action be DISMISSED without prejudice prior to service of
process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). It is
that on or before September 18, 2019,
Plaintiff may file an objection to this Recommendation. Any
objection filed must clearly identify the findings in the
Magistrate Judge's Recommendation to which Plaintiff
objects. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not
be considered by the District Court. Plaintiff is advised
this Recommendation is not a final order and, therefore, it
is not appealable. Failure 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 ...