United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge.
above-entitled action was filed by Plaintiff Donald Vaughn on
January 18, 2019, together with a Motion to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis. The motion shall be granted for purposes of this
a prisoner confined at Western Correctional Institution (WCI)
is suing Warden Gelsinger and Officer Williams who are both
employed at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI). Vaughn
asserts in his complaint that on February 2, 2018, his
personal property was confiscated by incompetent staff due to
a typographical error. ECF No. 1 at p. 2. Although he adds
that he was assaulted by Officers Zenner, Hutzler and
Strawderman on the same day, he does not name them as
defendants and the only relief he seeks is to be compensated
for his lost wages and lost personal property. Id.
at pp. 2-3.
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 may 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,
11'5 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, 722-723 (4th Cir.
addition, this court is obliged by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)
to screen prisoner complaints and dismiss any complaint that
is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 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." See White 886 F.2d at
722-23. Further, under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) a case shall be dismissed at any time 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.
of these standards to Vaughn's complaint requires its
dismissal as frivolous. 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 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). The Supreme Court extended its
Parratt holding to intentional deprivations of
property. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533
(1984). Therefore, assuming Vaughn's personal property
was improperly destroyed or confiscated as he alleges, such a
claim 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)
as frivolous. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
325 (1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25, 32 (1992); Cochran v. Morris, 73 F.3d 1310, 1315
(4th Cir. 1996); Nasim v. Warden, 64 F.3d 951,
954-55 (4th Cir. 1995).
is hereby notified that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)
he may be barred from filing future civil lawsuits in forma
pauperis during his incarceration if he continues to file
federal civil rights actions that are subject to dismissal
for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
Under that provision, a prisoner will not be granted in forma
pauperis status if he or she 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." A separate order dismissing
the complaint and directing the Clerk to mark this case with
a '"strike" follows.
 Vaughn may avail himself of remedies
under the Maryland's Tort Claims Act and through the
Inmate Grievance Office.
 Although Juncker dealt with
personal injury rather than property loss, its analysis and
conclusion that sufficient due process is afforded through
post deprivation remedies available in the Maryland courts
also applies to cases of lost or stolen property, given
Juncker's 'reliance on Parratt in
dismissing plaintiffs 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 remedies available to