United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
OPINION & ORDER
S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Plaintiff Meco Shaw filed this in forma
pauperis civil rights action on April 18, 2019, against
the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC),
ODRC Director Gary Mohr, and Lorain Correctional Institution
(LCI) Warden Kimberly Clipper. (Doc. No. 1). In his
Complaint, Shaw alleges he is an inmate in joint custody of
the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the ODRC, that his federal
sentence expires in May, and that he will be transferred to
LCI, where he contends he “will undoubtedly be subject
to forced removal of his dreadlocks and/or disciplinary
sanction” pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code §
5120-9-25(D). (Id. at 9, ¶ 17.) He seeks a
declaration finding an application of § 5120-9-25(D) to
him unlawful, and injunctive relief prohibiting the
Defendants from cutting his dreadlocks.
district courts are expressly required to screen all in
forma pauperis actions and all complaints in which
prisoners seek redress from governmental defendants, and
dismiss before service any such action that the court
determines fails to state a claim on which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d
468, 470 (6th Cir. 2010).
survive a dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint
must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470-71 (holding “that
the dismissal standard articulated in [Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)] governs dismissals for
failure to state a claim” under §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A).
addition, federal district courts have a duty to police the
boundaries of their own jurisdiction. If any at time the
court determines that it lacks jurisdiction, it must dismiss
the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
Court finds that the Plaintiff's Complaint must be
III of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal
courts to “cases” and
“controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2.
To demonstrate that a matter presented to a federal court
meets this requirement, a plaintiff must demonstrate he has
standing to bring his claims. To do so, a plaintiff must
show, among other things, that he suffered an “injury
in fact.” Kiser v. Reitz, 765 F.3d 601, 607
(6th Cir. 2014). He must show he had suffered an
injury at the time he filed his complaint that is
“concrete and particularized” and “actual
or imminent, not ‘conjectural' or
‘hypothetical.'” Id., citing
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560
Plaintiff asserts he has “previously been to Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation & Correction and [is]
familiar with the § 5120-9-25(D) of the administrative
code.” (Doc. No. 1-1 at 2, ¶ 5.) This statement,
however, is insufficient to demonstrate he suffered a
concrete and particularized injury at the time he filed his
Complaint. He has not alleged that § 5120-9-25(D) has
been applied to him, or facts permitting an inference that an
unlawful application of the statute to him is
“certainly impending.” See Kiser, 765
F.3d at 607. The Court finds the Plaintiff's action
premature and subject to dismissal for lack of standing.
even assuming the Plaintiff's allegations are enough to
establish constitutional standing, federal courts have held
that Ohio Administrative Code § 5120-9-25, which places
restrictions on hair growth for inmates, is constitutional
and not in violation of the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act. See, e.g., Pollock v.
Marshall, 845 F.2d 656 (6th Cir. 1988) (hair
length regulation could be constitutionally applied to
inmate, even assuming inmate held sincerely and genuinely
held religious belief that hair was sacred and should not be
cut); Johnson v. Collins, No. 3: 07 CV 211, 2009 WL
1543811, at *4 (N.D. Ohio June 2, 2009) (Ohio Administrative
Code § 5120-9-25 did not violate the Religious Land Use
and Institutionalized Persons Act as applied to a Rastafarian
inmate who wanted to wear his hair in dreadlocks as part of
his professed religious beliefs). Accordingly, the
Plaintiff's Complaint is also subject to dismissal on the
basis that it fails to state a plausible federal claim.
on the foregoing, the Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) and 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. The Court further certifies,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), ...