United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
ROBERT S. LLOYD, #250 886, Plaintiff,
ALABAMA DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
pro se complaint filed by Robert Lloyd, an inmate
confined at the Bullock Correctional Facility. Lloyd
challenges the conditions of his confinement which he
complains resulted in him being assaulted and injured by
another inmate. Named as defendants are the Alabama
Department of Corrections (“ADOC”), inmate Dedric
Shepherd, Lieutenant W. Cousins, and Warden Antonio Mclain.
Upon review, the court concludes that Plaintiff's
complaint against the ADOC and inmate Shepherd are due to be
dismissed prior to service of process under the directives of
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).
The Alabama Department of Corrections
names the ADOC as a defendant. The Eleventh Amendment bars
suit directly against a state or its agencies, regardless of
relief sought. Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984); Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265 (1986) (Unless the State of Alabama
consents to suit or Congress rescinds its immunity, a
plaintiff cannot proceed against the State or its agencies as
the action is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment and
“[t]his bar exists whether the relief sought is legal
“[T]he Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from
entertaining suits by private parties against States and
their agencies [or employees].” Alabama v.
Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 781, 98 S.Ct. 3057, 57 L.Ed.2d 1114
(1978). There are two exceptions to this prohibition: where
the state has waived its immunity or where Congress has
abrogated that immunity. Virginia Office for Prot. &
Advocacy v. Stewart, 563 U.S. 247, 131 S.Ct. 1632,
1637-38, 179 L.Ed.2d 675 (2011). “A State's consent
to suit must be ‘unequivocally expressed' in the
text of [a] relevant statute.” Sossamon v.
Texas, 563 U.S. 277, 131 S.Ct. 1651, 1658, 179 L.Ed.2d
700 (2011) (quoting Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98, 104 S.Ct. 900, 79 L.Ed.2d 67
(1984)). “Waiver may not be implied.”
Id. Likewise, “Congress' intent to
abrogate the States' immunity from suit must be obvious
from ‘a clear legislative statement.'”
Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 55,
116 S.Ct. 1114, 134 L.Ed.2d 252 (1996) (quoting
Blatchford v. Native Vill. of Noatak, 501 U.S. 775,
786, 111 S.Ct. 2578, 115 L.Ed.2d 686 (1991)).
Selensky v. Alabama, 619 Fed.Appx. 846, 848-49 (11th
Cir. 2015). Thus, neither the State of Alabama or its
agencies may be sued unless the State has waived its Eleventh
Amendment immunity, see Pennhurst State School &
Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984), or
Congress has abrogated the State's immunity, see
Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 59 (1996).
Neither waiver nor abrogation applies here. The Alabama
Constitution states that “the State of Alabama shall
never be made a defendant in any court of law or
equity.” Ala. Const. art. I, § 14. The Supreme
Court has recognized that this prohibits Alabama from waiving
its immunity from suit. Pugh, 438 U.S. at 782, 98
S.Ct. 3057 (citing Ala. Const. art. I, § 14.)
Selensky, 619 Fed.Appx. at 849. “Alabama has
not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity in § 1983
cases, nor has Congress abated it.” Holmes v.
Hale, 701 Fed.Appx. 751, 753 (11th Cir. 2017) (citing
Carr v. City of Florence, Ala., 916 F.2d 1521, 1525
(11th Cir. 1990)). Consequently, any claims lodged against
the State of Alabama or its agencies are frivolous as these
claims are “based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory[, ]” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
327 (1989), and are therefore due to be dismissed with
prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).
seeks damages in this § 1983 action for injuries he
received on April 15, 2019, because of an attack on him by
inmate Dedric Shepherd. According to the complaint, inmate
Shepherd attacked and robbed Lloyd as Lloyd accessed his
property box. When Lloyd ran after inmate Shepherd to
retrieve his property, inmate Shepherd assaulted him by
hitting him in his left temple and left eye with a mop
handle. Lloyd maintains he has lost vision in his right eye.
Doc. 1 at 2-3.
essential element of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is that a
person acting under color of state law committed the asserted
constitutional deprivation. American Manufacturers Mutual
Ins. Company v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40 (1999); Willis
v. University Health Services, Inc., 993 F.2d 837, 840
(11th Cir. 1993).
To state a [viable] claim for relief in an action brought
under § 1983, [a plaintiff] must establish that [he was]
deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of
the United States, and that the alleged deprivation was
committed under color of state law. . . . [T]he
under-color-of-state-law element of § 1983 excludes from
its reach “‘merely private conduct, no matter how
discriminatory or wrongful, '” Blum v.
Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1002, 102 S.Ct. 2777, 73 L.Ed.2d
534 (1982) (quoting Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1,
13, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. 1161 (1948)). . . . [Consequently,
] state action requires both an
alleged constitutional deprivation “caused by the
exercise of some right or privilege created by the State or
by a rule of conduct imposed by the State or by a person for
whom the State is responsible, ”
and that “the party charged
with the deprivation must be a ...