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Lint v. Young

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

November 2, 2015

SAMUEL LINT, Plaintiff,
v.
DARREN YOUNG, WARDEN, a/k/a Darrin Young; BOB DOOLEY, WARDEN, a/k/a Bob Doolie; and DENNY KAEMINGK, SECRETARY OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO AMEND, ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT

KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Plaintiff, Samuel Lint, filed this pro se lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming Darin Young, Bob Dooley, and Denny Kaemingk as defendants. Docket 1. This matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy for handling pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and this court’s standing order of October 16, 2014. Magistrate Judge Duffy “screened” this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A and recommends dismissal of Lint’s claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1). Docket 7. Lint objects to the recommendation. Docket 8. He also moves to amend his complaint. Docket 9. For the reasons below, Lint’s motion is denied, Magistrate Judge Duffy’s report and recommendation is adopted, and the complaint is dismissed.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

According to the report and recommendation, Lint alleges he was taken to the “hole” for investigative purposes. Docket 7 at 1. He cooperated but was found guilty of smuggling drugs into the prison, and was punished. Id. Lint spent eighteen days in “the hole, ” was fined one hundred dollars, and lost his visitation, phone, recreation, and commissary privileges. Id. at 2; Docket 8 at 2. Lint filed this complaint, arguing he was denied due process because the prison did not follow the procedure in the prison manual. Docket 7 at 2. Magistrate Judge Duffy found that Lint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and recommended the complaint be dismissed. Id. at 9. Lint objects to this recommendation. His objection restates his claim and elaborates on other punishments he suffered. Docket 8 at 2.

LEGAL STANDARD

Review of a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the court reviews de novo any objections that are timely made and specific. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) (“The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge’s disposition that has been properly objected to”).

DISCUSSION

Lint objects to Magistrate Judge Duffy’s recommendation of dismissal. He does not specify what he objects to but argues that Magistrate Duffy’s finding that he failed to state a claim is incorrect. Lint also moves to amend his complaint to show that he can state a viable claim.

I. Lint’s Due Process Claim Fails

Lint claims defendants violated his due process rights by punishing him without following DOC procedures. The United States Supreme Court held “challenged prison conditions cannot give rise to a due process violation unless those conditions constitute ‘atypical and significant hardship[s] on [inmates] in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.’ ” McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 37 (2002) (quoting Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)).

In Phillips v. Norris, 320 F.3d 844 (8th Cir. 2003), an inmate was caught using illegal tobacco and was put in isolation. Initially, he was charged with a rule violation. Id. at 846. He filed a § 1983 action and argued that that the denial of a hearing to respond to charges and his punishment represented an “atypical hardship” and violated his due process rights. Id. The court held that no due process violation occurred. Id. at 847. “In order to prevail on a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim, [a plaintiff] must first demonstrate that he was deprived of life, liberty or property by government action.” Id. (citing Singleton v. Cecil, 155 F.3d 983, 987 (8th Cir. 1998); Beverati v. Smith, 120 F.3d 500, 502 (4th Cir. 1997)). Lint was not denied life or property. Therefore, “[H]e must identify a liberty interest in order to sustain his due process claim.” Id. at 847.

Prisoners’ liberty interests created by the state are [G]enerally limited to freedom from restraint which, while not exceeding the sentence in such an unexpected manner as to give rise to protection by the Due Process Clause of its own force, nonetheless imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.

Id. (citing Sandin, 515 U.S. at 483-84). In order to determine whether an inmate possesses a liberty interest, the court must compare the conditions of confinement in segregation with those in ordinary prison life. Id. (quoting Beverati, 120 F.3d at 503). The court does not consider “the procedures used to confine the inmate in segregation.” Id.

Lint’s original claim focused on the procedures allegedly misused by defendants. Docket 1 at 3. In his objections and proposed amended complaint, Lint identifies his additional punishments and argues that he was denied a liberty interest. Docket 8 at 2; Docket 9 at 2. His punishment is still not sufficient to state a claim. The plaintiff in Phillips complained that he “lost the privileges of contact visitations, yard and gym call, and chapel.” Id. at 846. This is ...


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