United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Lynn Dalton, Jr., Pro Se Plaintiff;
F. Harf, Guynn, Waddell, Carroll & Lockaby, P.C., Salem,
Virginia, for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge
plaintiff, Arless Lynn Dalton, a Virginia inmate proceeding
pro se, brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that the defendant violated his right
to due process in disciplinary proceedings. The defendant has
filed a Motion to Dismiss, and Dalton has responded. After
review of the record, I conclude that the defendant's
motion must be granted.
is confined at the New River Valley Regional
Jail. He alleges that on March 7, 2019, he
was charged with a jail disciplinary offense for
“tampering with safety/security equipment.”
Compl. 2, ECF No. 6. The Inmate violation report stated that
an officer making a security round discovered that
“cell B46 wouldn't lock back.” Mot. Amend 2,
ECF No. 10. Dalton asserts, “There is no evidence to
support a conviction.” Compl. 2, ECF No. 6. On March
18, 2019, the disciplinary committee found Dalton guilty of
the charged offense, based on its finding that maintenance
records showed all doors were in working condition on March
5, 2019, but Dalton's door “had issues” on
March 7, 2019. Mot. Amend 2, ECF No. 10. The committee
imposed sanctions: “30 days loss good time [and] $75
restitution.” Id. On appeal, the loss of good
time was reduced to 15 days.
brings his § 1983 Complaint against only one defendant -
Gregory Winston. As relief, he seeks to have the disciplinary
charge dismissed, to have his good time restored, and to have
his “money left alone.” Compl. 2, ECF No. 6.
district court should dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6)
if, accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the Complaint
as true and drawing all reasonable factual inferences in the
plaintiff's 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). To 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).
an official liable under § 1983, the plaintiff must
state facts that affirmatively show how the officer acted
personally to deprive the plaintiff of constitutional rights.
Vinnedge v. Gibbs, 550 F.2d 926, 928 (4th Cir.
1977). Supervisory officials may not be held vicariously
liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their
subordinates. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009). Dalton fails to describe any action defendant Winston
took that violated his constitutional rights. Thus, the
Complaint does not state any § 1983 claim against
Winston and may be dismissed on that ground.
Dalton's § 1983 claim must be dismissed because he
cannot use a § 1983 action to invalidate a disciplinary
charge to regain lost good conduct time.
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997) (holding
that a § 1983 claim for declaratory relief and money
damages was barred, where the “principal procedural
defect complained of” - a deceitful and biased decision
maker - “would, if established, necessarily imply the
invalidity of the deprivation of [Balisok's] good- time
[A] state prisoner's § 1983 action is barred (absent
prior invalidation) - no matter the relief sought (damages or
equitable relief), no matter the target of the prisoner's
suit (state conduct leading to conviction or internal prison
proceedings) - if success in that action would necessarily
demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its duration.
Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005).
success of Dalton's § 1983 claim that the
disciplinary committee's actions deprived him of good
conduct time without due process protections would
necessarily imply the invalidity of the resulting
disciplinary conviction and penalties, including the loss of
good time. Therefore, Balisok's favorable
termination requirement applies to bar Dalton's §
1983 claim. On the Complaint form, Dalton indicates that he
has not filed any other action in state or federal court
about the facts in this case. He also provides no
evidence that his disciplinary conviction has been
invalidated or overturned through administrative ...