The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R Herndon Chief Judge United States District Court
Plaintiff Scott Rendelman, an inmate in U.S.P. Marion, brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are thus subject to summary dismissal.
Rendelman states that he first met Celeste Wray in February of 1991 through Prisoner Visitation Services (PVS). At that time, he was an inmate at FCI Memphis, and Wray was a volunteer visitor with PVS. Wray visited Rendelman regularly during his time at FCI Memphis. Rendelman was transferred to another facility in 1992, and Wray continued to maintain contact with him through mail. She eventually provided him with her phone number, and they began to maintain telephone contact. After Rendelman was released in 2001, he and Wray continued to stay in contact; he even visited Wray at her home with his daughter after his supervised release expired.
Rendelman was sentenced to a new federal term of imprisonment in 2008. After arriving at USP Marion, he placed Wray on his phone list and visiting list. Rendelman called Wray in July of 2008. While monitoring this call, prison authorities learned that Wray was a PVS volunteer. Prison authorities informed Rendelman that mail and phone contact with PVS volunteers were against policy. Thus, Rendelman was prevented from corresponding with Wray through telephone or mail, and Wray was removed from his visiting list.
Rendelman requested special permission from the warden, Defendant Hollingsworth, to correspond with Wray. He explained that he had a 17-year relationship with Wray, she had become a close family friend, and the relationship predated his current term of incarceration. He also explained that Wray is almost 90 years old, and he knows that time is limited. Hollingsworth denied Rendelman's request, citing policy, and he unsuccessfully appealed to the extent allowed through administrative remedies. Rendelman further alleges that the policy cited as the reason for terminating his contact with Wray was authored by Defendant Lappin, Director of the United States Bureau of Prisons.
Although Rendelman has not divided his complaint into counts, the Court finds it convenient to reorganize his allegations and to divide this action into three counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. ...