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John Carter v. Jeffrey A. Beard

April 24, 2012

JOHN CARTER, PLAINTIFF
v.
JEFFREY A. BEARD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Caldwell)

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

The pro se plaintiff, John Carter, a prisoner at Rockview State Correctional Institution (SCI-Rockview), in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, brings this civil-rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his placement on the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' (DOC) Restricted Release List (RRL) violates his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, he alleges that he was given no process before being placed on the RRL and that he has been in administrative custody for the past two years without any meaningful periodic review of his RRL status.

Named as Defendants are the following DOC officials: Jeffrey Beard, former Secretary of the DOC; Shirley Moore-Smeal, former Deputy Secretary for the Central Region; Paul Smeal, former Superintendent of SCI-Smithfield; Marirosa Lamas, Superintendent of SCI-Rockview; Robert J. Marsh, Deputy Superintendent for Centralized Services; Brian Thompson, Deputy Superintendent for Facility Management; and Tim Miller.

Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

II. Standard of Review

In considering a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), "[w]e 'accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.'" Byers v. Intuit, Inc., 600 F.3d 286, 291 (3d Cir. 2010)(quoted case omitted).

"Pro se complaints are 'liberally construed' and 'held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]'" Jackson v. Div. of Developmental Disabilities, 394 F. App'x 950, 951 n.3 (3d Cir. 2010)(nonprecedential)(quoted case omitted). Nonetheless, the complaint still "must contain allegations permitting 'the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'" Id. (quoted case omitted). Pro se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative amended complaint even when a plaintiff does not seek leave to amend. See Fletcher--Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors, Inc., 482 F.3d 247, 252 (3d Cir. 2007). However, leave to amend need not be granted if amendment would be futile. Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 2002).

With these principles in mind, we set forth the background to this litigation.

III. Background

A. Carter's RRL Placement

The case arises from procedures set forth in a DOC policy statement, DC- ADM 802, captioned "Administrative Custody Procedures."*fn1 Under DC-ADM 802, "[the Facility Manager/designee may request that an inmate be placed on the [RRL] when he/she poses a threat to the secure operation of the facility and where a transfer to another facility or jurisdiction would not alleviate the security concern." DC-ADM 802 at p. 1-2.

Criteria for placing an inmate on the RRL include, but is not limited to, the following: the inmate's assaultive history against staff and/or inmates; sexual assault history; escape or serious escape attempt history; a threat to the orderly operation of a facility; a Special Management Unit (SMU) graduate who remains a threat; and or an SMU failure. Id. at pp. 1-2 and 1-3.

In September 2008, Paul Smeal, the Superintendent of SCI-Smithfield, requested that Carter be placed on the DOC's RRL. Doc. 1, Compl. at p. 4.*fn2 The request was made to Deputy Secretary Moore-Smeal, who forwarded it to ...


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