United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge.
Sykes, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, commenced this
action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of
Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 389
(1971). Plaintiff names staff associated with the
United States Penitentiary in Lee County, Virginia ("USP
Lee"), as defendants. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
violated due process and inflicted cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments of
the United States Constitution. Defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment, to which Plaintiff responded, making the
motion ripe for disposition. After reviewing the record, the
court dismisses any claim about the pending disciplinary
charge for lack of jurisdiction and grants Defendants'
motion for summary judgment as to the remaining claims.
alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights
when they issued two allegedly false incident reports, placed
him in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), and
subsequently transferred him to a Special Management Unit
("SMU"). The first incident report, #2874480,
concerns an assault on another inmate (the "Assault
Charge"), and the second incident report, #2894898,
concerns making a sexual proposal or threats to another (the
"Proposal Charge"). Plaintiff also generally
alleges that the isolating conditions of confinement he
experienced in the SHU and SMU are cruel and unusual
18, 2016, Plaintiff was moved to the SHU while staff
investigated a fight among inmates. Based on video evidence,
defendant Lt. Allen charged Plaintiff on July 26, 2016, with
the Assault Charge. A few days later, defendant Hughes, as a
member of the Unit Discipline Committee
("UDC"), referred the charge to a Disciplinary
Hearing Officer ("DHO") for adjudication. Defendant
Mollica reviewed the charge as the DHO and remanded the
charge for further investigation.
August 12, 2016, Lt. Allen amended the charged with more
details about the victim's injuries and re-issued the
charge to Plaintiff. Another UDC convened on August 22, 2016,
and referred the amended charge to a DHO for adjudication.
Although she served as a UDC member for the original charge,
Hughes also served as the DHO of the amended charge and found
Plaintiff guilty on September 16, 2016. Upon
administrative review of the proceedings, however,
Hughes' adjudication was remanded for a rehearing with a
different DHO. The charge remained pending as of
Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and Plaintiff
has not alleged that he has since been convicted of the
September 11, 2016, defendant Anderson charged Plaintiff with
"Making a Sexual Proposal or Threats to Another."
Plaintiff allegedly gave Anderson legal a greeting card
titled, "Thinking of You Today, " that read:
Today is the day that I give thanks and Supreme Honor [f]rom
me to you, to secure you and myself as well I wish it was a
better way [f]or us to communicate so neither one of us can
get in trouble. However when I [f]irst came into contact with
you I noticed that you have the [s]oul and [i]mage of a
[g]oddess with the spirit of an [a]ngel. It would be selfish
of me if I didn't give thanks and appreciation to you for
all the over looked hard-work you do around here no matter
the cost or consequences enclosed with it. As you ran across
my mind I couldn't do nothing [b]ut smile because the
energy you give off is so positive and [f]ruitful, willing
and always caring [f]or others with respect that's always
unappreciated. Furthermore I pray that this touches your
heart with no love or respect lost because if I didn't
have you I don't know where I'll be.
referred the charge to a DHO, who found Plaintiff guilty of
"Conduct Disruptive to the Orderly Operation of the
Institution, " most like "Making a Sexual
Proposal." The imposed sanctions included the loss of
twenty-seven days' good conduct time.
filed five administrative remedies during the approximate
time of the charges.Plaintiff filed remedy #886813-R1 (the
"First Remedy") with the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Office ("Regional Office") on December 8, 2016.
Plaintiff complained about Mollica and Hughes being DHOs for
the Assault Charge and claimed that the Warden of USP Lee
never responded to a BP-9 he purportedly filed on September
27, 2016. Regional Office staff did not believe the First
Remedy constituted a "sensitive" issue, rejected
the First Remedy at intake on December 23, 2016, and returned
it to him to file with the Warden. Plaintiff did not do so.
filed remedy #888354-R1 (the "Second Remedy") with
the Regional Office on January 9, 2017, to challenge the
Assault Charge. Regional Office staff rejected it at intake
on January 11, 2017, because it included more than one
"continuation" page and advised ...