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Derek Williams v. A. Roberts

March 7, 2012

DEREK WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
A. ROBERTS, DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT OF ADMIN., WASHINGTON C.F.; J. JOHNSON, CORR. OFFICER; WASHINGTON C.F.; M YAW, CORR. OFFICER, WASHINGTON C.F. A/K/A M. YAHW; LT. EDWARDS, WASHINGTON C.F.; AND YAKI, IMAN, WASHINGTON C.F., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court, in this pro se prisonercivil rights action filed by Derek Williams ("Plaintiff") against the above-named Defendants ("Defendants"), are the following: Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece's Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted, and Plaintiff's Objections to Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. Nos. 11, 18, 19.) For the reasons set forth below, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety; Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted; and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Complaint

On January 8, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action. (Dkt. No. 1.)*fn1

Generally, construed with the utmost of liberality, Plaintiff's Complaint asserts the following six claims: (1) Defendants Johnson and Yaw wrongfully enforced the prison's count procedures so as to interfere with Plaintiff's engaging in Islamic prayer in his cell on or before October 23, 2007, and November 6, 2007, in violation of the First Amendment; (2) Defendants Johnson and Yaw filed false misbehavior reports against Plaintiff on October 23, 2007, and November 6, 2007, in retaliation against him for filing a grievance on October 22, 2007, regarding the first above-described interference, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments; (3) Defendant Roberts wrongfully affirmed Defendant Edwards' wrongful disciplinary hearing conviction of Plaintiff with regard to the first above-described false misbehavior report, on October 31, 2007, causing Plaintiff to experience three days of pre-hearing confinement and 30 days of confinement under Keeplock Status, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments; (4) Defendant Edwards denied Plaintiff his due process rights during each of his two disciplinary hearings on October 25, 2007, and November 14, 2007, causing Plaintiff to experience (a) three days of pre-hearing confinement and 30 days of confinement under Keeplock Status (resulting from the first disciplinary hearing), and (b) eight days of confinement under Keeplock Status (resulting from the second disciplinary hearing), in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; (5) Defendant Yaki wrongfully advised Defendant Roberts and the Washington C.F. Superintendent, at some point between October 25, 2007, and November 15, 2007, that Plaintiff was not obligated to pray during count times, in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"); and (6) all of the other Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under RLUIPA as well, through their above-described acts. (Id. at ¶¶ 4, 6, 7 & Exhibits.)

For a more detailed recitation of Plaintiff's claims and supporting factual allegations, the Court refers the reader to the Complaint in its entirety and to Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation, which accurately summarizes those factual allegations. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 18.)

B. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

On June 21, 2011, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 11.) Generally, on support of their motion, Defendants assert the following three arguments: (1) Plaintiff's due process claims are barred by the three-year statute of limitations governing such claims; (2) Plaintiff's monetary claims under RLIUPA are barred by the Eleventh Amendment given the capacity in which Defendants were allegedly acting during the times in question, and his injunctive claims under RLUIPA are moot given his release from prison; (3) based on the factual allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint, Defendants are protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity with respect to Plaintiff's First Amendment and RLUIPA claims. (Dkt. No. 11, Attach. 1, at 4-10.)

C. Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation

On December 15, 2011, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiff's due process claims under the Fourteenth Amendment are barred by the applicable three-year statute of limitations; (2) Plaintiff's monetary claims under RLUIPA are barred by the Eleventh Amendment, and his injunctive claims under RLUIPA are moot, given that he was released on parole in November 2011; (3) in the alternative, based on the factual allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint, Defendants are protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity with respect to Plaintiff's claims under the First Amendment; and (4) Plaintiff has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting a claim under either the Eighth or Eleventh Amendments. (Dkt. No. 18, at Part II.B.)

D. Plaintiff's Objection to the Report-Recommendation

The last paragraph of Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation specifically advised Plaintiff of the deadline for filing written objections to the Report-Recommendation, and the consequences of failing to do so. (Dkt. No. 18, at 17.) Moreover, page 31 of the District's Pro Se Handbook and Local Rule 72.1(c) of the Local Rules of Practice for this Court (copies of which was available to Plaintiff at his prison law library during the time in question) repeated this information.

Nonetheless, Plaintiff elected not to file an Objection to the Report-Recommendation. Instead, on January 12, 2012, Plaintiff filed a documented addressed to the Second Circuit and entitled "Notice of Motion for Appeal." (Dkt. No. 19.) Because this document contains challenges to the Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation, the Court will ...


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