United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Antonari William Alexander, Pro Se Plaintiff;
Maughan, Assistant Attorney General of Virginia, Richmond,
Virginia, for Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge
plaintiff, a state prison inmate, has filed a document in
this case that the court docketed as a “Motion for
regular cell exchange, ” ECF No. 102. This case is
pending on Alexander's Complaint alleging the use of
excessive force by correctional officers and is set for jury
trial. After review of the present motion and the record, I
conclude that it must be denied.
motion, dated December 5, 2019, Alexander stated that in
retaliation, he was housed in a “suicide [c]ell”
without a shelf, table, or top bunk on which to place legal
materials and other property items. Id. He alleged
that he did not have space to write legal documents, and he
asked the court to order his transfer to a normal cell, like
“C-217 or C-207.” Id. Because
Alexander's case is scheduled for a trial in February of
this year, the court directed the defendants to respond to
Alexander's concerns, and they have done so.
defendants submit an affidavit by Larry Collins, the Unit
Manager of C Building at Red Onion State Prison, a special
housing unit for protective custody and restrictive housing
assignments. On Saturday, November 3, 2019, Alexander was
assigned to cell C-217. Officers observed him trying to take
contraband to outside recreation and tried to escort him back
to his cell. They reported that he became disruptive and
refused to comply with orders, so they took him to the floor.
Medical staff assessed him and reported no injuries.
Alexander received three institutional disciplinary charges
stemming from the incident.
of Alexander's conduct on November 3, 2019, he was moved
to cell C-301, which has been modified for security reasons
to more safely control disruptive inmates. This cell has a
bunk, a sink, and a toilet, but the desk and shelf have been
removed, the windows are reinforced, the toilet can only be
flushed from outside the cell, and the light covering is
reinforced to prevent an inmate from breaking it.
Monday, November 5, 2019, Collins reviewed reports about the
Saturday incident and Alexander's subsequent behavior.
After speaking with Alexander, Collins “was satisfied
that his disruptive behavior had ceased.” Collins Aff.
¶ 6, ECF No. 105-1. Alexander was housed in cell C-301
from approximately 7:11 a.m. on November 3, 2019, until
approximately 10:05 a.m. on November 5, 2019, when he was
moved to cell C-305. This cell is a fully functional standard
cell, equipped with a desk, a shelf, and one bunk.
December 10, 2019, Alexander was moved to cell C-207, which
was originally built as a general population cell and is
equipped with two bunks. As of January 3, 2020, the date of
Collins' affidavit, Alexander remained assigned to cell
these facts, I conclude that Alexander's motion must be
denied as moot. Liberally construed, his motion requests
preliminary injunctive relief, directing prison officials to
move him to cell C-207 or C-217, where he would have space to
store and work on his legal pleadings. Collins has already
assigned Alexander to cell C-207, as he requested. This
change in circumstances makes it impossible for me to grant
“any effectual relief” to Alexander. Williams
v. Ozmint, 716 F.3d 801, 809 (4th Cir. 2013) (citations
omitted). Therefore, his claim for preliminary injunctive
relief is moot. Id.
reasons stated, it is ORDERED that Alexander's motion,
ECF No. 102, is DENIED as moot.
 I decline to construe Alexander's
motion as one seeking leave to amend to add new claims to the
case close to the trial date. Moreover, Alexander's
allegations in this motion do not support any claims for
damages. His 48-hour stay in the modified cell C-301 in early
November 2019, after he received three disciplinary charges,
does not give rise to viable claims of retaliation or past
interference with his access to courts. See Adams v.
Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 74-75 (4th Cir. 1994) (finding §
1983 retaliation claim was properly dismissed where plaintiff
provided only conclusory assertion of retaliation with no
facts to show why defendant retaliated against him);
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351-52 (1996) (holding