United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
E. Conrad, Senior United States District Judge.
Nathaniel Tower, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that he was housed under unconstitutional conditions
while confined at the New River Valley Regional Jail
("NRVRJ"). After review of the record, the court
concludes that this civil action must be summarily dismissed.
allegations are sparse: (1) "I was housed in Protective
Custody segregation without a classification for over 4
months. 12-15-17 to 4-15-18"; (2) "I have been
denied my due process and access to the grievance process
multiple times"; and (3) "I have not been outside
for recreation since December 6, 2017." Compl.
2, ECF No. 1. Tower filed this § 1983 action In
July 2018, seeking monetary damages against defendants
Gregory P. Winston and Kevin Jones.
42 U.S.C. § l997e(c)(1), the court may dismiss any
§ 1983 action "with respect to prison conditions
... if the court is satisfied that the action is frivolous,
malicious, [or] fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted." Section 1983 permits an aggrieved party to
file a civil action against a person for actions taken under
color of state law that violated his constitutional rights.
See Cooper v. Sheehan, 735 F.3d 153, 158 (4th Cir.
2013). To state a claim, a § 1983 complaint must be more
than "labels and conclusions" or "naked
assertions devoid of further factual
enhancement." Ashcroft v. Iqbal 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). Rather, "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Id.
complaint, as a whole, fails to state factual matter
sufficient to state any plausible claim against the
defendants he has named. For a viable § 1983 claim,
"a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official
defendant, through the official's own individual
actions" has caused a violation of the plaintiffs
constitutional rights. Id. at 676. Tower does not
identify whether the defendants are officials at NRVRJ or
state facts about any actions they undertook, personally, in
violation of his constitutional rights. In any event, his
allegations do not indicate that he suffered any deprivation
of constitutional rights.
Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from cruel and unusual
living conditions. Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
347 (1981). However, "[t]o the extent that such
conditions are restrictive and even harsh, they are part of
the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses
against society." Id. To state a constitutional
claim regarding past conditions of confinement, a prisoner
must "produce evidence of a serious or significant
physical or emotional injury resulting from the challenged
conditions." Shakka v. Smith, 71 F.3d 162, 166
(4th Cir. 1995). Tower fails to identify any injury he
incurred from the alleged lack of outside recreation or from
segregated confinement. Accordingly, he states no factual
basis for an Eighth Amendment claim against anyone at
also complains about being housed in protective custody
segregated confinement, without due process. A convicted
inmate's federally protected liberty "interests are
limited to the freedom from restraint which, while not
exceeding the sentence in such an unexpected manner as to
give rise to protection by the Due Process Clause of its own
force, nonetheless imposes atypical and significant hardship
on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life." Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484
(1995). If the housing status the inmate challenges did not
impose atypical hardship on him, then he has no federally
protected liberty interest and, thus, no constitutional right
to particular procedural protection related to that
assignment. Id. at 486-87. Tower fails to show that
protective custody segregation at NRVRJ subjected him to any
atypical hardship, compared to other types of confinement
there. Moreover, his complaint makes clear that his term in
that segregated confinement was brief and was expressly
intended for his protection. The court cannot find that these
allegations implicate any federal due process
Tower's alleged inability to access the NRVRJ's
grievance procedure as he desired also did not implicate any
constitutionally protected right. See Booker v. S.C.
Dep't of Corr., 855 F.3d 533 (4th Cir. 2017).
"[I]nmates have no constitutional entitlement or due
process interest in access to a grievance procedure. An
inmate thus cannot bring a § 1983 claim alleging denial
of a specific grievance process." Id. at 541.
Thus, Tower's claim of denial of access to the grievance
procedure is frivolous.
stated reasons, the court will summarily dismiss the action
without prejudice under § l997e(c)(1) for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. An appropriate
order will enter this day.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to plaintiff.
 Tower notified the court on October
25, 2018, that he is now confined in the Virginia Peninsula
Regional Jail in Williamsburg, Virginia, a jail facility
located within the jurisdiction of the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
 The court has omitted internal
quotation marks, alterations, and citations, here and
elsewhere in this memorandum opinion, except ...