United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
following Recommended Disposition has been sent to United
States District Judge Brian S. Miller. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of the date of this Recommendation. If you do not file
objections, Judge Miller can adopt this Recommendation
without independently reviewing all of the evidence in the
record. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal
questions of fact.
Jonathan Elliott Goodman (“Goodman”) is a
prisoner at the Grimes Unit of the Arkansas Department of
Correction (“ADC”). He has filed a pro
se § 1983 Complaint alleging that Defendants
violated his rights. Doc. 1. Before Goodman may
proceed with this case, the Court must screen his
alleges that he is being “illegally and illegitimately
held” in the ADC, in violation of his “various
rights.” According to Goodman, he is the “actual
owner” of the ADC's Grimes Unit through one of his
many free-world businesses. He alleges that, although he has
been exonerated of the criminal charges which originally
provided the basis for his incarceration, he has remained at
the Grimes Unit, as “an inmate in appearance, ”
so that he can “observe the property and administrative
operations” as a “superior
magistrate/administrative head.” He alleges that ADC
officials refuse to acknowledge or attempt to verify his true
identity and will not honor his “distinguishment,
entitlement, rights[, ] privileges and benefits of
ownership.” Doc. 1 at 4-23. As Defendants, he names the
“Arkansas Department of Corrections Board of
Professional and Respondents, ” Black Community
Developers Inc., and “All and any Affiliatable
Departments, Bureaus and Inclusively Persons.”
Id. at 1-2.
action is frivolous if its allegations are “fanciful
… fantastic or delusional, ” its “factual
contentions are clearly baseless, ” or it is
“based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32-33 (1992); Nietzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
327-29 (1989). A “finding of frivolousness is
appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the
irrational or the wholly incredible.” Denton,
504 U.S. at 33.
to survive § 1915A screening, a “complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“[L]abels and conclusions, ” a “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” and
“naked assertions devoid of further factual
enhancement” are insufficient to plead a viable claim
for relief. Id. Instead, a “claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id.; see also Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
not clear what relief Goodman seeks from the Court. If he
seeks release from prison because he believes his state court
conviction has been overturned or is otherwise improper,
sole remedy is to file a federal habeas petition under 28
U.S.C. § 2254, after he has properly exhausted all of
his available remedies in state court. Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973) (“When a state
prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of his
physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a
determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a
speedier release from that imprisonment, his sole remedy is a
writ of habeas corpus.”).
Goodman vaguely alleges that he has received unspecified
“disciplinary reports … as an ordinary inmate
would, ” he does not appear to be challenging any
particular disciplinary charge or conviction. Doc. 1 at
22. It is well settled that an officer's mere filing
of a disciplinary charge -- even an inaccurate or incomplete
charge -- does not give rise to a § 1983 cause of
action. Sprouse v. Babcock, 870 F.2d 450, 452 (8th
Cir. 1989); Glick v. Sargent, 696 F.2d 413, 414 (8th
Cir. 1983). Furthermore, Goodman does not allege that he was
denied due process in connection with any disciplinary
proceedings, only that he should not be receiving
disciplinaries in the first place.
allegations that he is the “actual owner” of the
Grimes Unit, which ADC officials refuse to acknowledge or
confirm, are “irrational or … wholly incredible,
” and cannot provide the basis for any viable claim.
See Denton, 504 U.S. at 33; Horsey v.
Asher, 741 F.2d 209, 213 (8th Cir. 1984)
(“Complaints that are obviously fanciful … may
and should be swiftly dismissed.”).
Goodman has not named any proper Defendants. He sues the ADC
and what appears to be a private organization, neither of
which is a proper Defendant in a § 1983 action. See
Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 64 & 71 (1989) (a state and its agencies are not
“persons” within the meaning of § 1983);
Brown v. Missouri Department of Corrections, 353
F.3d 1038, 1041 (8th Cir. 2004) (Missouri Department of
Corrections was “not a proper party” under §
1983); Crumpley-Patterson v. Trinity Lutheran
Hospital, 388 F.3d 588, 590 (8th Cir. 2004) (explaining
that § 1983 “secures most constitutional rights
from infringement by governments, not private
sues “All and Any Affiliatable Departments, Bureaus,
and Inclusively Persons.” He does not explain who or
what falls into this nonsensical category. Furthermore, his
other allegations provide no basis for any viable
constitutional claims, much less linking any claims to a
suable individual or entity that might fit into this vague
and broad category.
Goodman's Complaint lacks any plausible factual or legal
allegations, the Court recommends that this § 1983
action be dismissed, without prejudice, as frivolous and
failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.