United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. MARKS CHIEF UNTIED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the court on the Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (Doc. 78) and the Plaintiff's Objections
thereto. (Doc. 79).
an independent evaluation and de novo review of the
file in this case, the Court finds the objections to be
without merit and due to be overruled.
Hector Manuel Bossio, Jr. (“Bossio”) filed a
pro se complaint pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1983,
as a pretrial detainee, asserting that his initial placement
and confinement violated his constitutional rights; that
Defendants Sheriff Heath Taylor (“Taylor”) and
Lt. Steve Johnson (“Johnson”) were deliberately
indifferent to his safety; and that the jail law library is
inadequate. The Defendants filed a special report which was
treated as a motion for summary judgment and as to which
Bossio filed several responses.
Magistrate Judge recommended summary judgment be granted in
favor of the Defendants on all of Bossio's claims. The
Magistrate Judge concluded that the requests for injunctive
relief are moot because Bossio is no longer held at the
Russell County Jail, that Bossio failed to identify any
similarly situated inmate who received favorable treatment to
support an equal protection claim, that Bossio failed to
establish that he suffered the requisite injury to support
his denial of access claim, and that the Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity on the due process claims.
de novo review, this Court has reviewed the
arguments and evidence to determine whether there is a
genuine dispute as to any material fact and whether the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation
Bossio makes an assertion that his jail disciplinary report
was fabricated. This assertion, however, is not substantiated
by evidence. He also advances some fact-based arguments which
appear to dispute that he made a hole in his cell wall.
Bossio's sworn complaint, however, establishes that he
removed electrical conduit from inside the wall to fashion a
weapon to use on other inmates. (Doc. 1 at 3). This admission
of fact undermines several of his objections. Specifically,
this fact undermines his argument that he should not have
been charged with escape because at that time someone else
was in the cell he had previously occupied and could have
made the hole and his argument that there was no safety
reason to keep him confined in a cell used to house violent
objections, Bossio also points to some factual assertions
regarding his status in a minority group. “To establish
an equal protection claim, a prisoner must demonstrate that
(1) “he is similarly situated with other prisoners who
received more favorable treatment; and (2) his discriminatory
treatment was based on some constitutionally protected
interest such as race.” Jones v. Ray, 279 F.3d
944, 946-47 (11th Cir. 2001). Bossio has not presented
sufficient evidence to establish the elements of this claim.
also disputes that he received notice of a disciplinary
hearing. The Magistrate Judge declined to determine whether a
fact question existed for purposes of a due process claim
because Bossio had not shown that the Defendants violated
clearly established law. This Court agrees with this
analysis. See Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 236
(2009) (holding that courts can address the clearly
established prong of qualified immunity analysis first). The
procedural due process right to receive advance warning of
disciplinary charges was recognized by the Eleventh Circuit
as a matter of first impression in Jacoby v. Baldwin
Cty., 835 F.3d 1338 (11th Cir. Aug. 29, 2016). The
disciplinary action complained of in this case occurred in
February of 2016. Therefore, the law was not clearly
established at the time of the action in question, and the
individual Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.
Belcher v. City of Foley, Ala., 30 F.3d 1390, 1400,
n.9 (11th Cir. 1994) (stating that a case decided after the
conduct in the case occurred could not have clearly
established the law at the time of the conduct in this case).
reasons stated, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
Objections are OVERRULED.
Court ADOPTS the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.
Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and judgment is
entered in favor of the Defendants and ...