United States District Court, D. Maryland
ANTONIO L. McGHEE, Plaintiff
WARDEN OF N.B.C.I., et al., Defendants
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge.
above-captioned case was filed on June 8, 2016, together with
a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Because he appears
indigent, plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
shall be granted; however, his complaint will be dismissed.
complaint concerns plaintiff's allegations that employees
of the North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) lost his
personal property when he was placed on segregation. ECF 1.
Plaintiff states that he was placed on disciplinary
segregation on July 9, 2013. At that time, his personal
property was inventoried; the property he was not allowed to
keep while on segregation was stored. ECF 1-1, p. 1. When he
inquired as to the status of his property, he learned that it
had been "lost, mishandled, and/or destroyed."
Id., p. 2.
court is obliged to screen prisoner complaints and dismiss
any complaint that "is frivolous, malicious or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. In deciding whether a complaint is
frivolous, "[t]he district court need not look beyond
the complaint's allegations . . . . It must, however,
hold the pro se complaint to less stringent standards than
pleadings drafted by attorneys and must read the complaint
liberally." White v. White, 886 F.2d 721,
722-723 (4th Cir. 1989). Additionally, under the provisions
of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), a case shall be dismissed if
the court determines that "(A) the allegation of poverty
is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or
malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. §
McGhee has failed to state a claim on which relief may be
granted: his complaint does not allege a constitutional
violation. In the case of lost or stolen property, sufficient
due process is afforded to a prisoner if he has access to an
adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Parratt v.
Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 540 (1981), overruled on other
grounds by Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986). The
Supreme Court extended its Parratt holding to
intentional deprivations of property. See Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984). The right to seek
damages and injunctive relief in Maryland courts constitutes
an adequate post deprivation remedy. See Juncker v.
Tinney, 549 F.Supp. 574, 579 (D. Md.
1982). Therefore, assuming McGhee's personal
property was lost or destroyed as he alleges, such conduct
does not rise to a constitutional violation. Thus, the
complaint presented here shall be dismissed under the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) & 1915A.
McGhee is reminded that, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), he
will not be granted in forma pauperis status if he has
"on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or
detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a
court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds
that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is
under imminent danger of serious physical injury." 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g). As this complaint must be dismissed
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, the case will be marked as a "strike"
against Mr. McGhee's three chances under section 1915(g).
separate order follows.
 Plaintiff may avail himself of
remedies under the Maryland Tort Claims Act and through the
Inmate Grievance Office.
 Although Juncker dealt with
personal injury rather than property loss, its analysis and
conclusion also applies to cases of lost or stolen property,
given Juncker's reliance on Parratt in
dismissing plaintiff's due process claim.
 In rejecting a prisoner's Fourth
Amendment claim to an expectation of privacy in his cell, the
Supreme Court stated that denying such a claim did not
"mean that [a prisoner] is without a remedy for
calculated harassment unrelated to prison needs. Nor does it
mean that prison attendants can ride roughshod over
inmates' property rights with impunity. The Eighth
Amendment always stands as a protection against ‘cruel
and unusual punishments.' By the same token, there are
adequate state tort and common-law ...