United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division
SCOTT O. CALLAHAN, Plaintiff,
FRANCISCO QUINTANA, ET AL., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge
2011, Scott O. Callahan was convicted of possessing child
pornography, receiving child pornography, and attempting to
receive child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2252. See United States v. Scott Callahan, No.
8:11-cr-166 (M.D. Fla. 2011). The trial court sentenced
Callahan to 210 months in prison. See id.
is now confined at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in
Lexington, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Callahan
filed a complaint with this Court alleging that the
defendants have violated his First Amendment rights. [R. 1].
The defendants then filed a motion to dismiss Callahan's
complaint or, in the alternative, a motion for summary
judgment [R. 19]. Callahan responded to that motion, and he
also filed his own motion for summary judgment. [Rs. 23, 24].
The parties have now fully briefed both motions and, thus,
this matter is ripe for a decision. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court will grant the defendants' dispositive
alleges in his complaint that he is an “artist, ”
and he claims that staff at FMC-Lexington are running afoul
of his First Amendment rights in three ways.
Callahan claims that prison officials unlawfully confiscated
some of his “art work” pursuant to a change in
institution policy regarding the production of sexual
drawings, paintings, writings, and sculptures. [R. 1 at 4-6].
In response, the defendants point out that FMC-Lexington
permits prisoners to participate in a “hobby-craft
program, ” but that it prohibits the production of
sexual drawings and other depictions. [R. 19-1 at 4 (citing
R. 19-2 at 18)].
Callahan claims that prison staff impermissibly seized his
mail and returned it to the sender. [R. 1 at 2, 7-8]. In
response, the defendants acknowledge that, on multiple
occasions in September and October of 2017, prison staff
reviewed Callahan's mail pursuant to prison procedures
and determined that it contained numerous sexually-explicit
photographs. Prison officials determined that the mail was
detrimental to the security and good order of the prison and,
as a result, it returned the mail to the sender in accordance
with prison policies. [R. 19-1 at 3, 4-6 (citing R. 19-3)].
Callahan suggests, albeit in a rather unclear way, that
prison officials have somehow interfered with his access to
this Court. [R. 1 at 16]. Callahan stresses that he
“enjoys the right to access to courts in order to seek
redress for wrongs done to him by the federal government,
” and he then complains that he has had to “jump
through administrative hoops . . . before he can bring an
action in court.” [Id.]. In response, the
defendants argue that Callahan has not suffered any prejudice
in the way in which he has had to litigate his claims. [R.
19-1 at 19].
pursued his administrative remedies to no avail and,
thereafter, he filed his complaint with this Court. Callahan
is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages for the
alleged constitutional violations, as well as declaratory and
injunctive relief. [R. 1 at 17-18]. In response, the
defendants moved to dismiss Callahan's complaint or, in
the alternative, moved for summary judgment. [R. 19].
Callahan then filed his own motion for summary judgment. [R.
23]. The parties have now fully briefed both motions and,
thus, this matter is ripe for a decision.
defendants point out, Callahan begins by asserting various
First Amendment claims pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown
Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The
Court, however, will dismiss these First Amendment
Bivens claims because they are not legally
a civil-rights claim against state officials under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, which is a remedy explicitly created by
Congress, a civil-rights claim against federal officials
pursuant to Bivens is a judicially-created cause of
action that has been implied only in limited circumstances.
See Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843, 1854 (2017).
The Supreme Court has explained that, in deciding whether a
case may proceed under a Bivens theory, a court must
first determine whether the case presents a new context that
“is different in a meaningful way from previous
Bivens cases decided by this Court.”
Id. at 1859. If the case presents a new
Bivens context, the court must then consider whether
special factors counsel hesitation in recognizing a new
Bivens claim. See Id. at 1859-60.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court has made it clear that
“expanding the Bivens remedy is now a
disfavored judicial activity.” Id. at 1857
(citation and quotation marks omitted).
each of Callahan's three First Amendment claims present a
new context. To date, the Supreme Court has only recognized
Bivens claims in three contexts: (1) a Fourth
Amendment claim involving search and seizure; (2) a Fifth
Amendment discrimination claim; and (3) an Eighth Amendment
claim alleging a prison official was deliberately indifferent
to an inmate's serious medical needs. See Id. at
1854-55. The Supreme Court has never recognized a
Bivens remedy in the First Amendment context.
See Reichle v. Howards, 566 U.S. 658, 663 n. 4
(2012) (“We have never held that Bivens
extends to First Amendment claims.”); Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 675 (2009) (“[W]e have
declined to extend Bivens to a claim sounding in the
First Amendment.”); Meeks v. ...