United States District Court, D. Maryland
WILLIAM K. DIXON, Plaintiff,
RUSSELLL A. NEVERDON, SR,  ROBIN WOOLFORD, RICHARD. S. RODERICK, LT. JARED ZAIS and SGT. GREGORY FORNEY, Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
K. Dixon, a prisoner confined at North Branch Correctional
Institution ("NBCI") in Cumberland, Maryland, seeks
an order by this Court remanding Dixon's appeal of an
Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") grievance
for a hearing before the Maryland Office of Administrative
Hearings ("OAH"). Pending before the Court is a
Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants. Upon consideration of
the submitted materials, the Court finds that no hearing is
necessary to resolve the pending Motion. See D. Md.
Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion
to Dismiss will be GRANTED.
names former Director Russell A. Neverdon, Sr. of the Inmate
Grievance Office ("IGO"), IGO Deputy Director Robin
Woolford, Acting NBCI Warden Richard S. Roderick, and
Correctional Officers Jared Zais and Gregory Forney as
Defendants. On May 26, 2016, Dixon filed an Administrative
Remedy Procedure grievance ("ARP") in which he
asserted that on May 4, 2016, he had been denied equal access
to recreation based on a one-time denial of recreation and
telephone privileges by correctional officers working the 3
to 11 shift. In fact, as Defendants do not deny, Dixon did
not receive recreation and phone privileges due to a shortage
of correctional personnel on the 3 to 11 shift who were
celebrating "Officer Appreciation Day." Warden
Roderick found the ARP to be meritorious in part but denied
Dixon's requested relief of$500 and his transfer to
another prison. Dixon appealed the Warden's decision up
to the IGO and increased his demand for relief to $1, 500. In
dismissing the appeal. Woolford stated that
"[r]estrictions on inmate movements on a single occasion
is 'within the normal limits or range of custody which
the [criminal] conviction [underlying the custody] has
authorized the State to impose,' and does not impose an
'atypical and significant hardship"" in
violation of Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995).
Woolford Letter, ECF No. 1-1 at 16. Woolford further found
that Dixon failed to identify any federal or state
constitutional, statutory, regulatory policy or other
prohibition against such restrictions, and did not state a
claim for monetary damages or transfer.
sought review of the IGO dismissal in the Circuit Court of
Maryland for Allegany County, arguing in part that Woolford
improperly failed to refer the grievance for a hearing before
the OAH. The Circuit Court denied his appeal. Dixon then
filed the present Complain.
assert that Dixon's Complaint should be dismissed under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim. To defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6),
the complaint must allege enough facts to state a plausible
claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow
"the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. Legal conclusions or conclusory statements do
not suffice. Id. The court must examine the
complaint as a whole, consider the factual allegations in the
complaint as true, and construe the factual allegations in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v.
Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of
Comm'rs of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th
extent that the Complaint asserts that the IGO's failure
to refer the matter to the OAH violates Dixon's rights,
Dixon has failed to state a claim. "[I]nmates have no
constitutional entitlement or due process interest in access
to a grievance procedure." Booker v. S.C. Dep't
of Corr., 855 F.3d 533, 541 (4th Cir. 2017). Because
prisons do not create a liberty interest protected by the Due
Process Clause when they adopt administrative mechanisms for
hearing and deciding inmate complaints, an inmate may not
assert a claim under 42 U.S.C. S 1983 "alleging denial
of a specific grievance process." Id; see Ewell v.
Murray, 11 F.3d 482, 487-88 (4th Cir. 1993). Thus,
Dixon's claim that this Court should require the state
court or IGO to refer the matter to an OAH does not state a
valid claim for relief. Indeed, to the extent that Dixon asks
this Court to compel the state court to remand his grievance
to the OAH for a hearing, the Court lacks authority to do so.
Although the federal district courts have "original
jurisdiction of any action in the nature of mandamus to
compel an officer or employee of the United States or one of
its agencies to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff,"
28 U.S.C. S 1361, they have no such authority over state
courts or officials.
extent that the Complaint can be construed as asserting that
the one-time denial of recreation and phone privileges on
Officer Appreciation Day violated Dixons's right against
cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to
the United States Constitution, it similarly fails. A single
instance of denial of recreation or the use of the phone,
even if not justified, does not rise to the level of a
violation of Eighth Amendment. See In re Long Term
Administrative Segregation of Inmates Designated as Five
Percenters ("Five Percenters"), 174 F.3d 464,
471-72 (4th Cir. 1999) (holding that indefinite segregation
housing in which inmates "are confined to their cells
for twenty-three hours per day without radio or television
[and] receive only five hours of exercise per week" did
not violate the Eighth Amendment, where the prison continued
to provide the inmates with food, shelter, and other
necessities and where no physical injury was alleged). Thus,
the Complaint fails to state an Eighth Amendment claim.
foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that:
1. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No.8, is GRANTED.
2. The Clerk shall close the case and send a copy of this