United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(E), 1915A
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff Isaiah Gadson, an inmate confined in the
Androscoggin County Jail, alleges Defendants violated his
federal rights when he was denied participation in general
equivalency diploma (GED) classes.
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
3), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 4.) In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's complaint is
subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or
… as soon as practicable after docketing, ”
because he is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss the complaint.
party is proceeding in forma pauperis, “the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, ”
inter alia, that the action is “frivolous or
malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
“Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua
sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare
prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of
answering such complaints.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
addition to the review contemplated by § 1915,
Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is
incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities and
officers. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c). The
§ 1915A screening requires courts to “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 …; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint 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). “The relevant question ... in assessing
plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any
particular factual allegations but, rather, whether
‘the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed
in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to
relief plausible.'” Rodríguez-Reyes v.
Molina- Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir.
2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n. 14).
Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to
“less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of
“conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant
legal standard, ” Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A.,
717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v.
Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining
that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se
plaintiffs “is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are
not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a
alleges he was incorrectly classified on intake as having
earned his GED and, as a consequence, Defendants will not
permit Plaintiff to participate in an educational program
that will enable him to obtain his GED. According to
Plaintiff, he filed grievances to change his intake records,
but Defendants Farrington (a classification officer) and
Feldman (a lieutenant) denied him relief. Plaintiff also
asserts he attempted to file a grievance with the captain,
but Defendant Feldman denied Plaintiff the ability to appeal
to the captain, and threatened discipline if he continued to
alleges Defendants “blatantly violated [his]
constitutional rights to due process by denying me the right
to file a complaint/grievance, also to use the ‘chain
of command, ' and most of all, denied me the right to an
education.” (Complaint at 5.) Plaintiff further
complains his due process rights were violated because
Defendants Farrington and Feldman, rather than a third party,
decided the grievances directed against them. (Id.
to Plaintiff's allegations, a prisoner does not have a
constitutional right to a particular prison grievance
procedure, or even to file a prison grievance; rather, the
Due Process Clause entitles prisoners to predeprivation
process whenever the state subjects them to an
“atypical and significant hardship … in relation
to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Sandin
v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995); see also Flick
v. Alba, 932 F.2d 728, 729 (8th Cir. 1991) (per curiam)
(“[T]he prisoner's right to petition the government
for redress is the right of access to the courts, which is
not compromised by the prison's refusal to entertain his
grievance.”); Charriez v. Sec'y, Florida
Dep't of Corr., 596 F.App'x 890, 895 (11th Cir.
2015) (unpublished) (“Because the prison grievance
procedure does not create a protected liberty interest,
Charriez does not have a federal constitutional right within
that administrative-grievance procedure.”); Von
Hallcy v. Clements, 519 F.App'x 521, 523 (10th Cir.
2013) (unpublished) (“Von Hallcy cannot state a due
process claim based on allegations of an ineffective
grievance reporting system.”); Brown v.
Graham, 470 F.App'x 11, 13 (2d Cir. 2012)
(“Brown's argument that he has a
federally-protected liberty interest in the state's
compliance with its own prison grievance procedures is
meritless.”); Butler v. Brown, 58 F.App'x
712 (9th Cir. 2003) (“[A] prisoner has no
constitutional right to prison grievance procedures.”);
Young v. Gundy, 30 F.App'x 568, 569 - 70 (6th
Cir. 2002) (unpublished) (“[T]here is no inherent
constitutional right to an effective prison grievance
procedure.”). Because prison grievance procedures are
not mandated or governed by the Constitution or other federal
law, Plaintiff has not and cannot assert an actionable
federal claim based on Defendants' administration of the
claim regarding Defendants' alleged denial of his request
to participate in a GED program also fails. Plaintiff does
not have a constitutional right to rehabilitation or any
particular educational programming. Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348 (1981) (denial of educational
services is not punishment for Eighth Amendment purposes);
Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976) (no due
process guarantee with respect to discretionary decisions
related to “prisoner classification and eligibility for
rehabilitative programs”); Fiallo v. De
Batista, 666 F.2d 729, 730 (1st Cir. 1981) (“We
are unaware of any authority for the proposition that a
prison inmate has a federal constitutional right to
rehabilitation. Indeed, all indications appear to be to the
contrary.”); Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp.
672, 689 (D. Me. 1983), aff'd,728 F.2d 560 (1st