United States District Court, W.D. Virginia
Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge.
Lamont Neely, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, commenced
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming three
staff of the Virginia Department of Corrections
("VDOC") and Wallens Ridge State Prison
("WRSP") as defendants. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Due
Process Clause when adjudicating a prison disciplinary
charge. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff
responded, making the matter ripe for adjudication. After
reviewing Plaintiffs submissions, I grant Defendants'
motion to dismiss.
was using a phone in a housing unit at WRSP on July 17, 2016,
when a fight started between rival gang members. Plaintiff
complied with staffs orders to lie down with hands
outstretched. Plaintiff was taken to a segregation cell and
was "told he would be released after the investigation
was completed." Ninety minutes later, Plaintiff was
charged with "fighting with any person."
Sgt. Hall presided over the disciplinary hearing. Sgt. Hall
refused to review video recordings as "not needed"
and found Plaintiff guilty of fighting. Records submitted
with the complaint show Plaintiff was fined $8.00. Defendant
Fleming, who was the WRSP Warden, and defendant Elam, who is
a VDOC Regional Administrator, upheld the conviction.
Defendants did not approve Plaintiffs requests to review the
video evidence, submit interrogatories, or receive
dismiss an action or claim filed by an inmate if I determine
that the action or claim is frivolous or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A(b)(1); 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c). The first standard includes claims based upon
"an indisputably meritless legal theory,"
"claims of infringement of a legal interest which
clearly does not exist," or claims where the
"factual contentions are clearly baseless."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). The
second standard is the familiar standard for a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
accepting a plaintiffs factual allegations as true. A
complaint needs "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and
sufficient "[f]actual allegations ... to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level" Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twomblv. 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal
quotation marks omitted). A plaintiffs basis for relief
"requires more than labels and conclusions ...."
Id. Therefore, a plaintiff must "allege facts
sufficient to state all the elements of [the]
claim."Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours &
Co.. 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003).
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that no
State shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law." U.S. Const,
amend. XTV, § 1. To state a due process claim, an inmate
must show that he was deprived of "life, liberty, or
property" by governmental action. Beverati v.
Smith, 120 F.3d 500, 502 (4th Cir. 1997). When a
disciplinary penalty does not cause an inmate's original
sentence to be enhanced, protected interests are generally
limited to freedom from restraint that imposes atypical and
significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the
ordinary incidents of prison life. See Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995) (holding that
disciplinary segregation did not present the type of
atypical, significant deprivation in which a state might
create a liberty interest). Unless the inmate proves a
deprivation of a protected interest, he has no federal right
to particular protections. See Superintendent, Mass.
Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985) (noting
substantive requirement for prison discipline proceedings
implicating the Due Process Clause); Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974) (noting the same
about procedural requirements).
Plaintiffs stay in segregation for approximately ninety
minutes nor the $8.00 fine implicates interests protected by
the Due Process Clause. Plaintiff fails to establish that the
fine imposed an atypical and significant hardship on him in
comparison to the ordinary incidents of prison life. See,
e.g.. Henderson v. Virginia. No. 7:07-cv-266,
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5230, at *33, 2008 WL 204480, at *10
(W.D. Va. Jan. 23, 2008) (finding a $12 fine did not pose an
atypical and significant hardship on the plaintiff in
comparison to the ordinary incidents of prison life), affd,
272 Fed.Appx. 264 (4th Cir. 2008); see also Washlefske v.
Winston. 234 F.3d 179, 185 (4th Cir. 2000) (discussing
the limited interest an inmate has in a trust account).
Likewise, Plaintiff fails to describe how Virginia created a
protected liberty interest to avoid segregation at WRSP or
how being in segregation at WRSP for ninety minutes was
atypical or significant. See, e.g.. Sandin. 515 U.S.
at 484; see also Freeman v. Rideout. 808 F.2d 949,
951 (2d Cir. 1986) (holding that a claim of a false
disciplinary charge cannot serve as the basis for a
constitutional claim). "[Administrative segregation is
the sort of confinement that inmates should reasonably
anticipate receiving at some point in their
incarceration." Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460,
468 (1983). Changes "in a prisoner's location,
variations of daily routine, changes in conditions of
confinement (including administrative segregation), and the
denial of privileges [are] matters which every prisoner can
anticipate [and which] are contemplated by his original
sentence to prison." Gaston v. Taylor, 946 F.2d
340, 343 (4th Cir. 1991). Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to
state a claim against Defendants about his disciplinary
conviction, and their motion to dismiss is granted.
foregoing reasons, I grant Defendants' motion to dismiss.
 Determining whether a complaint states
a plausible claim for relief is "a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense." Ashcroft v.
Iqbal. 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). Thus, a court
screening a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) can identify
pleadings that are not entitled to an assumption of truth
because they consist of no more than labels and conclusions.
Id. Although I liberally construe pro se
complaints, Haines v. Kerner.404 U.S. 519, 520-21
(1972), I do not act as an inmate's advocate, sua
sponte developing statutory and constitutional
claims not clearly raised in a complaint. See Brock v.
Carroll.107 F.3d 241, 243 (4th Cir. 1997) (Luttig, J.,
concurring); Beaudett v. City of Hampton. 775 F.2d
1274, 1278 (4th ...