United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
JUAN C. MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
OFFICER KEVIN MCCRAY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. MCCONNELL, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Kevin McCray's motion to dismiss
the complaint that Juan Martinez filed against him. ECF No.
16. Mr. Martinez, acting pro se, sued Officer McCray
for violating his due process rights under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants
Officer McCray's Motion to Dismiss.
Martinez is an inmate in the Maximum Security prison facility
at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution
("ACI"). Two incidents form the basis for Mr.
Martinez's case: a broken television set and a stay in
segregation. He claims that, while he was being moved to
another cell, Officer McCray broke his television. Mr.
Martinez filed a grievance with the Warden regarding his
broken television set, which was denied. He also claims that
Officer McCray wrongfully placed him in segregation for
thirty-one days for spitting on another inmate. According to
Mr. Martinez, this never occurred, and the inmate that was
allegedly spat on confirmed to Officer McCray that Mr.
Martinez did not spit on him.
these two incidents, Mr. Martinez filed suit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that Officer McCray violated his rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment. Officer McCray moves to
dismiss, arguing that neither rises to the level of a Due
Process Clause violation.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court accepts as
true the factual allegations of the complaint and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Cook v.
Gates, 528 F.3d 42, 48 (1st Cir. 2008); McCloskey v.
Mueller, 446 F.3d 262, 266 (1st Cir. 2006). "To
survive a motion to dismiss, 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) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570
(2007)). A plaintiffs claim is plausible when it states
sufficient facts that allow "the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable."
a plaintiffs obligation "requires more than labels and
conclusions." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A
plaintiff must provide more than "[t]hreadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory allegations." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at
678. If the plaintiffs alleged facts, taken as true, would
not justify recovery, the complaint will be properly
dismissed. Aulson v. Blanchard, 83 F.3d 1, 3 (1st
Mr. Martinez is pro se, the court must view his
filings liberally and hold them to "less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)
(quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
successful action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff
"must establish that [she/he was] deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution... and that the alleged
deprivation was committed under color of state law."
American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S.
40, 49 (1999). A Section 1983 plaintiff must show
"deprivation of a right, a causal connection between the
actor and the deprivation, and the state action."
Sanchez v. Pereira -Castillo, 590 F.3d 31, 41 (1st
Cir. 2009). In light of these elements, the Court will turn
to the two incidents Mr. Martinez claims deprived him of his
Television Set Claim
Martinez' allegation that Officer McCray broke his
television set does not state a claim for which relief can be
granted under § 1983. When taken in the light most
favorable to Mr. Martinez, Officer McCray's actions, as
alleged in the Complaint, are merely negligent as to Mr.
Martinez' television set and "the Due Process Clause
is simply not implicated by a negligent
act...causing unintended loss of...property."
Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328 (1986).
Mr. Martinez had access to and utilized a post-deprivation
remedy at the ACI when he filed a grievance about his broken
television with the Warden. So, even if the Court assumes
that Officer McCray intentionally broke Mr. Martinez'
television to deprive him of his property, "an
unauthorized intentional deprivation of property...does not
constitute a violation of...Due Process...if a meaningful
postdeprivation remedy for the loss is available."
Hudson v. Palmer,468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984). Because
the prison ...