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Wilson v. FCI Cumberland

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 5, 2018

ROGER WILSON Plaintiff
v.
FCI CUMBERLAND, et al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Roger Wilson's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2). The Motion is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant Wilson's Motion but dismiss his Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Wilson is a former federal prisoner who alleges that “for about 2.5 years from 2009 to 2011” he “notified defendant non-stop . . . about a court order he had striking the violence from his record meaning he should have been moved from the FCI to the camp & defendant refused.” (Compl. at 5, ECF No. 1). Wilson further states that the “defendant discriminated against [him] by denying him the drug program because he had dreds when there were numerous people with dreds in the drug program.” (Id.). As a result of the failure to put Wilson in the program, he served an extra year incarcerated. (Id.). On March15, 2018, this civil rights lawsuit seeking two million dollars in damages was filed along with a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Because he appears indigent, the Court will grant the Motion.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Wilson filed this Complaint in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in this Court without prepaying the filing fee. To guard against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute requires dismissal of any claim that is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). This Court is mindful, however, of its obligation to liberally construe self-represented pleadings, such as the instant Complaint. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating such a Complaint, the factual allegations are assumed to be true. Id. at 93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)).

         Nonetheless, liberal construction does not mean that this Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985) (stating a district court may not “conjure up questions never squarely presented.”). In making this determination, “[t]he district court need not look beyond the complaint's allegations . . . . It must 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, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989).

         B. Analysis

         The Court concludes that the Complaint, even when afforded a liberal construction, fails to state a claim for at least four reasons.

         First, the Complaint is untimely. Even if the operative date for the asserted cause of action is presumed to be 2012, or one year after Wilson was released, that date would be at least six years ago. “Section 1983[2] provides a federal cause of action, but in several respects relevant here federal law looks to the law of the State in which the cause of action arose. This is so for the length of the statute of limitations: It is that which the State provides for personal-injury torts.” Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007) (citing Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-50 (1989); Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 279-80 (1985)). In Maryland, the applicable statute of limitations is three years. See Md. Cts & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101. Wilson's assertion that he just found out he could sue, (Compl. at 5), does not toll the limitations period.

         Second, the due process claim itself is defective. Wilson does not have a right to access programs or to be released from his lawful term of incarceration early. “[G]iven a valid conviction, the criminal defendant has been constitutionally deprived of his liberty to the extent that the State may confine him and subject him to the rules of its prison system so long as the conditions of confinement do not otherwise violate the Constitution.” Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224 (1976), see also Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 493 (1995) (requiring an atypical and significant hardship as prerequisite to creation of a constitutionally protected liberty interest). “There is no constitutional or inherent right of a convicted person to be conditionally released before the expiration of a valid sentence.” Greenholtz v. Inmates of Nebraska Penal & Corr. Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7 (1979); see also Jago v. Van Curen, 454 U.S. 14, 18 (1981) (mutually explicit understanding that inmate would be paroled does not create liberty interest).

         Third, Wilson does not sufficiently allege an equal protection claim. Wilson asserts that he was denied entrance into the drug program because of his hair style. An equal protection claim requires Wilson to be treated differently from other similarly situated individuals and that the unequal treatment was the result of intentional or purposeful discrimination. See City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., Inc., 473 U.S. 432, 439-40 (1985); Morrison v. Garraghty, 239 F.3d 648, 653 (4th Cir. 2001). To prevail under the Equal Protection Clause, Wilson “must prove the decision makers in his case acted with discriminatory purpose.” McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279, 292 (1987). Here, Wilson admits that there were others admitted to the program who wore the same hairstyle. (Compl. at 5). Wilson fails to explain how, in spite of the program admitting others with his hairstyle, Defendants discriminated against him.

         Finally, if the claims are construed as claims brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, Wilson has not included information regarding administrative exhaustion for ...


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