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Holt v. Bright

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

January 15, 2020

DENNIS HOLT, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. BRIGHT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [Resolving ECF Nos. 1, 5]

          Benita Y. Pearson United States District Judge.

         Pro se Plaintiff Dennis Holt is a state prisoner presently incarcerated at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (“SOCF”). ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Lt. Bright and Warden Assistant Horton (collectively, “Defendants”) regarding events that occurred at the Ohio State Penitentiary (“OSP”) before he was transferred to SOCF. See id. at PageID #: 2, 6.

         For the reasons that follow, this action is dismissed.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Bright violated his constitutional rights when Bright denied him email access by placing him on kiosk restriction from September 2018 to March 2019, and by placing him on a 60-day telephone restriction. Id. at PageID #: 3. Plaintiff states that the restrictions imposed by Bright violated Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (“ODRC”) policy, which provides for telephone and kiosk restrictions when a prisoner abuses his privileges. Id. at PageID #: 3-4. Plaintiff states he did not abuse those privileges, so the restrictions were improperly imposed. Id. Plaintiff claims that because of these email and telephone restrictions, he was unable to grieve with his son regarding the death of his son's mother, causing mental and physical distress. See id. at PageID#: 5. Plaintiff does not contend, however, that he was deprived of all communication with the outside world during the limited period of time his email and telephone access were restricted.

         Plaintiff contends in conclusory fashion that Bright imposed these restrictions maliciously and sadistically to cause him harm unrelated to the safety and security of the institution, constituting cruel and unusual punishment and violating his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Id. at PageID #: 4. Plaintiff further alleges that he brought his concerns about Bright's alleged unconstitutional conduct to Warden Assistant Horton, but Horton agreed with Bright's actions, thus denying Plaintiff an impartial appeal. Id. at PageID #: 4-5.

         Plaintiff further alleges that he was sent from the OSP to the SOCF on May 21, 2019 to “discourage me from this civil action” and to silence him from speaking about the deprivation of his civil rights. Id. at PageID #: 6. Plaintiff alleges no facts to support his conclusory claim that his transfer from OSP to SOCF was connected to the exercise of his constitutional rights.

         Plaintiff claims that at the SOCF, his email and telephone privileges have not been restored and it is “reasonable to infer” that these restrictions are a continuation of the violation of his constitutional rights that occurred at OSP. Id. Plaintiff further alleges that at SOCF he was placed in segregation on June 5, 2019 for “exaggerated conduct reports” and has remained there “for days” with limited privileges. Id. Plaintiff does not name in the Complaint or identify the individuals at SOCF that are allegedly responsible for the claimed conduct. Plaintiff repeatedly alleges that prison officials took these actions in retaliation against him. See id.

         Plaintiff filed a supplement to the Complaint that briefly reiterates the allegations in the Complaint and attaches the ODRC policies that he contends Defendants violated. ECF No. 5. For relief, Plaintiff asks this Court to declare that Defendants violated his constitutional rights and to award him One Million Dollars from each Defendant. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 7.

         II. Standard of Review

         Pro se pleadings are liberally construed by the Court. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Notwithstanding, the district court is required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to review all in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss before service any such complaint that the Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470 (6th Cir. 2010). While some latitude must be extended to pro se plaintiffs with respect to their pleadings, the Court is not required to conjure unpleaded facts or construct claims against defendants on behalf of a pro se plaintiff. See Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 577 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); Thomas v. Brennan, No. 1:18 CV 1312, 2018 WL 3135939, at *1 (N.D. Ohio June 26, 2018) (citing Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985) and Erwin v. Edwards, 22 F. App'x. 579, 580 (6th Cir. 2001)).

         When determining whether the Plaintiff has stated a plausible claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the Complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, accept all factual allegations as true, and determine whether the Complaint contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The Plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. Although a Complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, its “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the Complaint are true.” Id. The Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Rather, Plaintiff must plead sufficient factual content that allows the Court to “draw the reasonable inference that defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[T]he plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         As an initial matter, the Complaint consists entirely of conclusory claims that Defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. See ECF No. 1. Plaintiff makes no factual allegations from which this Court may reasonably infer that Defendants are liable for the misconduct alleged. The Court is not required to accept Plaintiff legal conclusions, couched as a factual allegation, as true. Papasan, 478 U.S. at ...


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