United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
DOUGLAS A. HOGLAN, Plaintiff,
R. MATHENA, ET AL., Defendants.
Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge
plaintiff, Douglas A. Hoglan, a Virginia inmate proceeding
pro se, filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging that prison officials altered his inmate
treatment plan in retaliation for past lawsuits he had filed
about prison policies. At issue in this memorandum opinion is
the partial motion to dismiss filed by defendants M. Elam, S.
Massenburg, A. Pogue, K.M. Crowder-Austin, and Lovern
("defendants"), and Hoglan's response to their
motion. After review of the record, I will grant the
defendants' motion. Hoglan's claims against the
remaining defendants, which are not challenged in the motion
to dismiss, will go forward.
fall of 2017, Hoglan was confined at Green Rock Correctional
Center. During a cell search on October 11, 2017, officers
confiscated numerous items from his cell that included nude
or semi-nude images as violating Virginia Department of
Corrections ("VDOC") policy. Hoglan filed
grievances about the incident that were ruled unfounded, and
these rulings were upheld on appeal. Defendants Elam, Pogue,
Crowder-Austin, and Massenburg received and/or responded to
Hoglan's grievances and appeals.
conducted another cell search on October 17, 2017.
Thereafter, Hoglan was placed in segregated confinement
without being given notice or a reason for this action. He
remained in that status without any of his personal
possessions for several days. Under VDOC policy, defendant
Lovern was responsible for conducting an Institutional
Classification Authority ("ICA") hearing on October
19, 2017, concerning Hoglan's status change. No. ICA
hearing was conducted, however. Hoglan was released to the
general population on October 24, 2017.
construed, Hoglan claims that (1) Elam, Pogue,
Crowder-Austin, and Massenburg responded unsatisfactorily to
grievances and appeals about the October 11, 2017 cell
search; and (2) Lovern failed to provide due process
protections required by VDOC policy concerning segregation
placement on that date. These defendants move to dismiss the
claims under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, and Hoglan has responded, making the motion ripe
district court should dismiss a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) if,
accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as
true and drawing all reasonable factual inferences in the
plaintiffs favor, the complaint does not allege "enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). "[A] plaintiffs obligation to provide
the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do." Id.
at 555. Moreover, a court need not "accept
the legal conclusions drawn from the facts" or
"accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable
conclusions, or arguments." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v.
J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3dl75, 180 (4th Cir.
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
"the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). Hoglan must show direct personal involvement by each
individual defendant. Trulock v. Freeh, 275 F.3d
391, 402 (4th Cir. 2001) (noting that liability in a civil
rights case is "personal, based upon each
defendant's own constitutional violations"); see
also Garraghty v. Va. Dep't of Corr.. 52 F.3d
1274, 1280 (4th Cir. 1995).
defendants argue that Hoglan fails to identify what
specifically Elam, Pogue, Massenburg, and Crowder-Austin did
personally to participate in the alleged violations of
Hoglan's constitutional rights. These defendants also
argue that Hoglan has not demonstrated the necessary elements
to hold them liable as supervisory officials for the alleged
constitutional violations of other prison officials. See
Wilkins v. Montgomery, 751 F.3d 214, 226 (4th Cir.
20i4). The defendants contend that Hoglan has not stated
facts showing that their actions constituted a "moving
force" behind the alleged violations of his rights.
Jones v. Wellham, 104 F.3d 620, 627 (4th Cir. 1997).
Finally, the defendants rely on the fact that inmates have no
constitutional right to participate in a prison grievance
procedure or to receive a particular response to a grievance
or appeal. See Booker v. S.C. Dep't of Corr..
855 F.3d 533, 541 (4th Cir. 2017).
Hoglan's claims against defendant Lovern, the defendants
argue that § 1983 is not the proper cause of action to
raise violations of VDOC policy. Weller v. Dep't of
Social Services, 901 F.2d 387, 392 (4th Cir. 1990)
("[I]t is well settled that violations of state law
cannot provide the basis for a due process claim."). A
state's failure to adhere to its own procedures and
regulations is not a federal due process issue nor is it
actionable under § 1983. See Riccio v. Cty. of
Fairfax. Va.. 907 F.2d 1459, 1469 (4th Cir. 1990).
Furthermore, the defendants contend that the conditions
Hoglan faced while briefly confined in segregation did not
give rise to a federally protected liberty interest
triggering federal procedural protections. See Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484, 487 (1995) (holding that a
federally protected liberty interest arises only where the
deprivation imposed amounts to an "atypical and
significant hardship" or that it "inevitably
affect[s] the duration of his sentence").
response to the defendants' motion to dismiss, Hoglan
"declines to put forth any arguments against the
Defendants' motion to dismiss" as to the claims
against Elam, Massenburg, Pogue, Crowder-Austin, and Lovern.
(Resp. 1 [ECF No. 21].) Accordingly, for the reasons stated
in the defendants' motion, I conclude that Hoglan has
failed to state § 1983 claims against these defendants
and that their motion to dismiss must be granted. An
appropriate order will issue herewith.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to plaintiff and to ...