Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MORGAN v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

October 30, 1986

DARRYL MORGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

 CHARLES R. RICHEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Plaintiff brings this action alleging that defendants, acting under color of state law, breached the rules of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections and thereby deprived plaintiff of his liberty in violation of the due process clause and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Upon thorough consideration of the cross motions for summary judgment and defendants' motion to dismiss, the Court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment in part and, denies defendants' motion for summary judgment in part and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in whole.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff complains that while incarcerated at the Maximum Security Facility at Lorton, Virginia, he was repeatedly deprived of his liberty without due process. These deprivations involved four types of incidents. First, plaintiff states that on three occasions he was assigned to adjustment segregation in excess of 14 days (April 4-23, 1986; July 14-31, 1986; July 31, 1986 to at least August 20, 1986) in violation of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections Rule ("Rule") 105.2(c). See Second Amended Complaint. Secondly, plaintiff alleges that defendants violated Rules 108.1 and 108.3, requiring a hearing within three days of receiving a disciplinary report. See id. Thirdly, plaintiff asserts that the Administrator twice violated Rule 113.7, which requires that he review hearing reports within three days of receiving them. See id. Finally, plaintiff contends that the Administrator's rescission of plaintiff's visiting privileges on two occasions increased plaintiff's punishment in violation of Rule 113.3. See id.

 II. DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 If on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted matters outside the pleadings are presented and considered by the Court, as is the case here, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b). The Court will consider defendants' motion for summary judgment first. See Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 2720 (cross motions for summary judgment should be considered separately). Defendants' motion must be granted if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and [defendants are] entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(c).

 A. Plaintiff Must Have a Protected Liberty Interest for the Due Process Clause to Apply

 Although prison regulations may identify a liberty interest that triggers due process, prison regulations do not automatically create a liberty interest. See Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 471-72, 74 L. Ed. 2d 675, 103 S. Ct. 864 (1983); Crosby-Bey v. District of Columbia, 252 U.S. App. D.C. 20, 786 F.2d 1182, 1186 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (per curiam). Plaintiff must first establish that he has a protected liberty interest for the due process clause to apply. See Greenholtz v. Inmates of Nebraska Penal & Correctional Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7, 60 L. Ed. 2d 668, 99 S. Ct. 2100 (1979); Brandon v. District of Columbia Board of Parole, 236 U.S. App. D.C. 155, 734 F.2d 56, 62 (D.C. Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1127, 105 S. Ct. 811, 83 L. Ed. 2d 804 (1985); Lucas v. Hodges, 235 U.S. App. D.C. 63, 730 F.2d 1493, 1498-1507 (D.C. Cir.), vacated as moot, 238 U.S. App. D.C. 246, 738 F.2d 1392 (D.C. Cir. 1984); Brandon v. District of Columbia Board of Parole, 631 F. Supp. 435, 438 (D.D.C. 1986). "Liberty interests may arise under the Constitution or through state statutes or regulations imposing 'substantive limitations' on official discretion." Brandon, 631 F. Supp. at 438 (quoting Baumann v. Arizona Department of Corrections, 754 F.2d 841, 843 (9th Cir. 1985)); see also Hewitt, 459 U.S. at 471-72; Connecticut Board of Pardons v. Dumschat, 452 U.S. 458, 465-67, 69 L. Ed. 2d 158, 101 S. Ct. 2460 (1981); Lucas, 730 F.2d at 1499. The Court will examine each of plaintiff's claims to determine whether the Constitution or the prison regulations at issue create a liberty interest. If a liberty interest is found, the Court will then examine whether the process plaintiff received met the minimum requirements of the due process clause.

 B. The Adjustment Segregation Incidents

 Plaintiff contends that he was denied due process each time he was assigned to adjustment segregation in excess of fourteen days. Rule 105.2 states that a prisoner guilty of a Class II major offense " shall be subject to . . . . (c) assignment to adjustment segregation . . . . for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days." (emphasis added). Although regulations in and of themselves do not create a liberty interest, see Hewitt, 459 U.S. at 469, Crosby-Bey, 786 F.2d at 1186, the use of explicitly mandatory language creates a liberty interest. See, e.g., Hewitt, 459 U.S. at 472, Brandon, 631 F. Supp. at 438-39. The mandatory character of the language of Rule 105.2(c) prohibits segregation in excess of fourteen days and, thus, creates a liberty interest entitling plaintiff to due process.

 Because there is a genuine issue of material fact over whether plaintiff was ever retained in adjustment segregation in excess of fourteen days, compare Lindsay Affidavit with Salley Affidavit, the Court cannot grant summary judgment for defendants. The Advisory Committee states in the Notes to Rule 56: "Where an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility, summary judgment is not appropriate." Plaintiff has shown specific bases for impeaching defendants' affiants, compare Lindsay Affidavit, para. 4 with Salley Affidavit, para. 5; see also Plaintiff's Reply Memorandum (filed Mar. 28, 1986) (summarizing the areas of disagreement between the defendants' affiants), and, therefore, the Court cannot grant defendants' motion. See Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 2766. Accordingly, the Court must deny defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to the alleged violations of Rule 105.2(c).

 C. Plaintiff's Allegation That He Did Not Receive a Hearing

 Plaintiff complains that immediately after his transfer to the Maximum Security Facility on April 4, 1984, he was placed in the control cells without a hearing in violation of Rules 108.1 and 108.3. See Second Amended Complaint; Lindsay Affidavit para. 3; Defendants' Exhibit No. 1. Rules 108.1 and 108.3 state that a hearing shall be held within three working days of the prisoner's receipt of the written report on the offenses charged. Although the rule is cast in mandatory language, "procedures themselves do not create [a liberty] interest." Brandon, 631 F. Supp. at 440 (citing Slocum v. Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, 678 F.2d 940, 942 (llth Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1043, 74 L. Ed. 2d 612, 103 S. Ct. 462 (1982)). The Court must first determine whether the procedures protect any underlying liberty interest. See Slocum, 678 F.2d at 942 (unless there is a liberty interest, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.