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Warren v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

August 8, 2019

LAMONT L. WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Lamont L. Warren is a federal prisoner who was previously confined at the United States Penitentiary (USP) - McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky and is now incarcerated at the USP in Pollock, Louisiana. Proceeding without a lawyer, Warren filed a civil rights complaint with this Court using the Court's approved E.D. Ky. 520 Form. [R. 21]. That complaint is now before the Court on initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss most of Warren's claims, but it will allow some of his claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) to proceed.

         I.

         In 1996, a jury in the District of Columbia Superior Court convicted Warren of “an array of crimes, including assault with intent to kill while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, carrying a pistol without a license, and voluntary manslaughter while armed.” Warren v. United States, No. 3:11-cv-1479 at R. 12 (M.D. Penn. 2011). Warren has said that he was sentenced to an aggregate term of 22 years to life in prison. See id.

         As best as the Court can tell from Warren's complaint, which is very difficult to follow, he participated in the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP's) Challenge Program while he was incarcerated at USP - McCreary. The Challenge Program is an intensive treatment program for high security inmates. Warren, however, alleges that he did not complete the program but instead “removed himself because of vindictiveness by” Ms. Howard, a treatment specialist who he alleges “called him a pervert to several inmates.” [R. 21 at 2]. The United States Parole Commission subsequently denied Warren parole, citing his “negative institutional behavior and lack of programming.” [R. 21-4 at 1]. The Parole Commission then recommended that Warren re-enroll in the Challenge Program and complete it before being further considered for parole. [See id.].

         Warren alleges that he requested re-entry in the Challenge Program, but prison officials denied his request and retaliated against him by placing him in the Special Housing Unit (SHU). [See R. 21 at 2; R. 21-1 at 2; R. 21-2 at 1]. According to Warren's exhibits, prison officials claim that they placed him in the SHU “pending an investigation for continued negative institutional behavior in the form of predatory behavior towards female staff.” [R. 21-4 at 2]. Warren, however, apparently alleged to the BOP that prison “staff intentionally fabricated the allegations of negative institutional behavior.” [Id.].

         Warren then claims that, while he was in the SHU, he was placed in a cell with another inmate who he says came from a “different background, ” had a different “belief system, ” and even “screamed about killing Americans.” [R. 21 at 2-3; R. 21-1 at 2]. Warren says that he complained about the inmate and “wrote to Psyc, ” “told SIS Salmen, ” and “talked to [the] Unit Team, ” but “never got any help” and “was refuse[d] moving.” [R. 21 at 2; R. 21-1 at 2]. Warren then alleges that the other inmate attacked him, stabbing him multiple times in the back. [See R. 21 at 2-3; R. 21-1 at 2; R. 21-4 at 2]. Warren also suggests that unspecified prison officials knew of the other inmate's “history of assaults on black African inmates” and failed to protect him, especially since there was “a weapon in the cell which caused [Warren] harm.” [R. 21 at 3].

         Finally, Warren claims that, after the alleged assault, an unnamed physician “did not provide medicine for pain or issues of my stress of pain.” [R. 21-2 at 1]. Warren also says, “Plaintiff complaint about problems with stabbing making it worst with his reflex and need to go to a outside hospital. No. response.” [Id.]. Still, Warren acknowledges that he was taken “to a prison infirmary, ” “operated on for an hour, ” and “receive[d] over 20 stitches in his left side and back.” [R. 21-1 at 2]. Warren also notes that a physician's assistant later removed his stitches [R. 21-2 at 1], though he complains that he “never received a pain pill to confront the pains he suffered” and confusingly adds that he “was then forced in cell with a homosexual.” [R. 21-1 at 2].

         In addition to setting forth the foregoing factual allegations, Warren lists multiple defendants in his complaint, including Warden Ray Ormond, Assistant Warden Gomez, Treatment Specialist Ms. Howard, Treatment Specialist Dr. Booker, and “unknown officials.” [R. 21 at 1-2]. In an attached document, Warren also lists numerous John Doe defendants, including but not limited to correctional officers, a lieutenant, a medical administrator, and an individual allegedly in charge of prisoner medical appointments. [See R. 21-1 at 1].

         When asked what rights the defendants allegedly violated, Warren cites 42 U.S.C. § 1983, states that a supervisor is generally “liable for the constitutional violations of subordinates, ” claims that “mental and emotional distress are compensable, ” says the “filing of prison grievances is actively protected, ” and suggests that prison officials retaliated against him for exercising his constitutional rights. [R. 21 at 4]. Warren also later references his administrative tort claims, the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, and his due process rights. [See R. 21 at 5-6; R. 21-2 at 1]. Warren also filed an “amended affidavit of truth, ” but that document is largely unintelligible and includes references to slavery, the Declaration of Independence, and case law from the nineteenth century. [See R. 21-3 at 1-2].

         Ultimately, Warren asks the Court to grant him several different forms of relief, including an order that releases him from custody, directs that he be paid $100 million, and expunges all his disciplinary convictions. [R. 21 at 8; R. 21-2 at 2]. These are just a few the forms of relief that Warren is seeking. [See R. 21-2 at 1-2].

         Warren's complaint is now before the Court on initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A.

         II.

         As an initial matter, Warren's complaint and attached documents are very difficult to follow and do not comply in any meaningful way with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Indeed, Warren's complaint runs afoul of Rule 8 because it does not contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief” and fails to include allegations that are “simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (d)(1). Instead, Warren's submissions include numerous hard-to-follow pages that contain overlapping factual allegations and repetitive claims for relief. [See Rs. 21, 21-1, 21-2, 21-3, 21-4, 21-5]. Warren also wrote his allegations in a confusing narrative format that includes many superfluous details and fails to clearly explain what each named defendant did or failed to do to cause him harm, despite being specifically directed to do so. [See id.]. Thus, Warren's claims are hard to track. That said, since Warren is a pro se litigant, he is afforded latitude and, therefore, the Court has attempted to group those claims for relief that it can follow.

         A. Claim Challenging the Parole Commission's Decision

         Warren first appears to be trying to directly or indirectly challenge the Parole Commission's decision denying him parole-a decision presumably based, at least in part, on his failure to complete the Challenge Program. However, Warren has already fully litigated this issue to no avail before the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, see Warren v. Johnson, No. 1:18-cv-1431 (W.D. La. 2019), and he cites no legal authority that would allow him to collaterally attack the Western District of Louisiana's decision in this civil rights case. Thus, the Court will dismiss this claim with prejudice.

         B. Claim Challenging Disciplinary Convictions

         Warren also asks the Court to “expunge all the disciplinary convictions described in this complaint.” [R. 21-2 at 2]. Warren, however, has not put forth clear factual allegations regarding these convictions and, in any event, “he must challenge his disciplinary conviction[s] by way of a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, not by way of a Bivens civil rights action.” Tomlinson v. Holder, No. 7:11-cv-140, 2011 WL 5330724, at *5 (E.D. Ky. 2011). In other words, Warren ...


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