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Larry G. Harris, #N-57672 v. Warden Lee Ryker

August 3, 2011

LARRY G. HARRIS, #N-57672, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN LEE RYKER, LT. STAFFORD, LT. GOINS, LT. BAYLER, AND RACHEL R. NIELSEN,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER REAGAN, District Judge:

A. Introduction

Plaintiff, an inmate currently incarcerated in the Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's claims can be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

B. Facts

The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1). Plaintiff has garnered a reputation as a "jailhouse lawyer" and has filed other cases against Defendant Ryker, the Warden at Lawrence, and other prison staff. Plaintiff alleges that the incident in question was orchestrated by Defendant Ryker in retaliation for Plaintiff's lawsuits.

On September 28, 2010, Plaintiff was assaulted by another inmate. Plaintiff did not fight back and reported the incident to Defendant Baylor. Defendant Baylor's disciplinary report regarding the incident inaccurately stated that Plaintiff had pushed his assailant following a verbal altercation, and Plaintiff was brought before the adjustment committee for fighting. On September 30, 2010, Plaintiff had a disciplinary hearing, in which Defendant Goins denied his request to present witnesses, and Defendant Ryker refused his request to take a polygraph test. Plaintiff was found guilty of fighting and sentenced to 30 days of disciplinary segregation. Plaintiff's assailant was also sentenced to disciplinary segregation, but upon his release was rewarded with a job despite the fact that prison rules require that an inmate wait six months following release from segregation before he can be assigned a job.

C. Discussion

To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of FED. R. CIV. P. 8(e) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint and other pleadings into numbered counts, as shown below. 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. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

1. Count One: Due Process

Plaintiff makes a number of due process claims. He asserts that he received a false disciplinary report from Defendant Baylor, that his disciplinary hearing was unfair because he did not have the chance to present witnesses or to take a polygraph test, and that he was ultimately found guilty at the ...


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