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Chandler v. Stover

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 30, 2016

JOHNNY RAY CHANDLER, Plaintiff,
v.
SUSAN STOVER, Defendant. JOHNNY RAY CHANDLER, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
SUSAN STOVER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BERYL A. HOWELL United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 49. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff was returned to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") on January 17, 2007 after his parole was revoked. Defs.' Statement of Material Facts as to which There Is No Genuine Dispute, ECF No. 49 ("Defs.' SOMF") ¶ 4. From July 14, 2010 through February 9, 2015, he was incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania ("USP Lewisburg"). Id. He was transferred out of USP Lewisburg on February 9, 2015 and arrived at the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado ("ADX Florence") on March 2, 2015. Id.¶ 5. The claims arising out of these consolidated cases stem from the plaintiff's custody at these two institutions, USP Lewisburg and ADX Florence.

         A. Claim One

         The plaintiffs first claim is brought against Susan Stover, formerly his Unit Manager at USP Lewisburg, in her individual capacity. See Compl. at 4, 6 (page numbers designated by the plaintiff).[1] The plaintiff alleges that, on or about January 30, 2014, he sent Stover a written marriage proposal:

Ms. Stover, this is a proposal. But, it is not a Sexual Proposal. This is a Marriage Proposal. This Proposal is being sent to you under the First Amendment of the Constitution (Freedom of Speech, Choice and Association). Under Freedom of Speech, I Love you very much. Under Freedom of Choice, You are the woman I choose to marry. So, I request that you marry me.

Compl. at 6-7. The proposal was presented as an inmate request to staff, or "cop-out." See Mem. of P. & A. in Support of Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Mem.") at 24. Stover did not respond to the plaintiff with a simple "yes or no." Compl. at 7. Rather, she issued an Incident Report, see Defs.' Mem., Ex. 4 (Incident Report Number 2543699), charging the plaintiff "with a Code 206, Making a Sexual Proposal, " Compl. at 7; see Defs.' Mem., Ex. 4 (Discipline Hearing Officer Report regarding Incident Report Number 2543699) at 1.

         The plaintiff chose not to attend a hearing before a Disciplinary Hearing Officer ("DHO"), who ultimately found that "the greater weight of the evidence" supported the conclusion that the plaintiff "violated code 298/206, Interfering with staff in the performance of their duties, Most like Making a sexual proposal[.]" Defs.' Mem., Ex. 4 (Discipline Hearing Officer Report regarding Incident Report Number 2543699) at 3. The DHO imposed the following sanctions:

Forfeit Statutory Good Time: 60 days
Disciplinary Segregation: 90 days
Loss of Commissary Privilege: 16 months
Loss of Visiting Privilege: 16 months
Loss of Telephone Privilege: 16 months
Loss of Mattress: 13 months
Impound Personal Property (except legal material): 9 months
Monetary Fine: $27

Id., Ex. 4 (Discipline Hearing Officer Report regarding Incident Report Number 2543699) at 4.

         According to the plaintiff, he has "a constitutional right to marry the woman of [his] choice[, a]s long as the woman ... is not an enemy of this Country or a member of an enemy Organization." Compl. at 8. He deems Stover's "writing and filing that malicious and sadistic Incident Report" a violation of his rights to "Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Choice, and Freedom of Association." Id. For these alleged violations of rights protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the plaintiff "move[s] this Court[] to find . . . Stover guilty as charged." Id.

         B. Claim Two

         Next, the plaintiff sues David R. Wilson, USP Lewisburg's Associate Warden of Programs, in his individual capacity for alleged violations of his rights protected under the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Id. at 9. This claim arises from the plaintiff's transfer from USP Lewisburg to ADX Florence.

         The plaintiff began a Special Management Unit (SMU) Program at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, Louisiana in August 2009, and continued his participation in the SMU Program after his transfer to USP Lewisburg. See Defs.' Mem., Ex. 5 (ADX General Population Hearing Administrator's Report) at 1. "Since designation to the SMU Program, [the plaintiff] incurred an additional 136 disciplinary actions, including 27 disciplinary actions for Code 206, Making Sexual Proposals, as well as multiple instances of Code 203, Threatening Bodily Harm, Code 224, Assault, [and] Code 104, Possession of a Weapon, " among other infractions. Id., Ex. 5 (ADX General Population Hearing Administrator's Report) at 1. Based on the staffs "collective perception . . . that [the plaintiff's] failure to adequately progress in the SMU Program [was] based on his disruptive conduct and total disregard for [BOP] rules and regulations[, ]" the Warden proposed that the plaintiff be transferred to the General Population Unit at ADX Florence. Id., Ex. 5 (Memorandum to Jose Santana, Chief, Designation and Sentence Computation Center, from J.E. Thomas, Warden, USP Lewisburg, dated March 20, 2004) at 1.

         "On July 3, 2014, [the plaintiff] was given the Notice of Hearing on Referral for Transfer to the General Population at the ADX in Florence, Colorado, which outlined the basis for the placement recommendation." Defs.' SOMF ¶ 19. A hearing on the transfer took place on November 7, 2014 "at which [the plaintiff] was present and during which he provided a statement." Id. ¶ 20. It was determined that the plaintiff warranted placement at ADX Florence. See Defs.' Mem., Ex. 5 (ADX General Population Placement Decision).

         The plaintiff appealed the transfer on January 28, 2015. See Compl. at 9; Defs.' SOMF ¶ 22. According to the plaintiff, the appeal should have delayed his transfer for 30 days. Compl. at 9. However, Associate Warden Wilson allegedly caused the plaintiff to be transferred promptly in response to the lawsuit the plaintiff had filed against Susan Stover. Id. at 9-10. The plaintiff's appeal was denied on April 17, 2015, weeks after his arrival at ADX Florence on March 2, 2015. Defs.' SOMF ¶ 23

         In anticipation of his transfer, the plaintiff alleges, all of his property - including legal papers related to the instant civil action - was removed from his cell; none of his property has been returned to him. Compl. at 10. The plaintiff considers the loss of his legal papers "an Act of Denial of Access to the Court." Id. Further, because Wilson did not allow the plaintiff "to litigate [his] A.D.X. Transfer Appeal[, ]" he claims that Wilson "intentionally denied and interferred [sic] with [the plaintiffs] Fifth Amendment Right to Due Process of Law." Id. at 11. The plaintiff demands injunctive relief, that is, transfer back to USP Lewisburg, and "monetary relief of: $175, 000.00 from . . . Wilson ... in his individual capacity." Id.

         C. Claims Three and Four

         "On April 9, 2015, at approximately 11:00 a.m., [the plaintiff] had a verbal confrontation with Defendant VanSickle, " Defs.' SOMF ¶ 24, a Senior Officer Specialist at ADX Florence, see Defs.' Mem., Ex. 6 (Incident Report Number 2703502) at 1. The incident occurred at approximately 11 a.m., after which "VanSickle issued an incident report, " and a copy of the report "was provided to [the plaintiff] on April 10, 2015, at 1 p.m." Defs.' SOMF ¶ 25; see Defs.' Mem., Ex. 6 (Incident Report Number 2703502) at 2. The plaintiff was charged with Code 203, "Threatening another with bodily harm or any other offense." Defs.' Mem., Ex. 6 (Incident Report Number 2703502) at 1.

         Referring to Program Statement 5270.09, Inmate Discipline Program (July 8, 2011), the plaintiff alleges that "[s]taff who has reason to believe that an inmate violated the regulations of the B.O.P. 'must' write an incident report detailing the inmate's involvement in the incident, " which is delivered to the Operations Lieutenant who assigns a staff member to deliver a copy of the incident report to the inmate. Compl. at 12. According to the plaintiff, the Report was given to Operations Lieutenant Thompson in a timely manner, yet the plaintiff "was not served with the Report until 1:00 p.m. on [April 10, 2015], " id. at 13, roughly two ...


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