Coleman v. Lincoln Parish Detention Center, No. 16-30109 (5th Cir. 2017)

Annotate this Case
Justia Opinion Summary

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. 1983 pro se complaint as frivolous and for failure to state a claim. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that plaintiff's claims for declaratory and injunctive relief under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), was moot after his transfer to a different detention center; plaintiff's First Amendment claim failed because, other than not being allowed to attend Jumu'ah prayer services, he has not identified any other restrictions on his ability to express or exercise his faith; plaintiff's claims regarding the denial of medical care, negligent or deliberately indifferent infliction of injury, interference with his mail/denial of access to the courts, denial of equal protection, and retaliation were either not briefed at all or not adequately briefed; and plaintiff filed a formal motion requesting leave to file his proposed third amended complaint, and his "proposed order" accompanying that complaint did not qualify as such a motion. The court denied plaintiff's motion for a proposed settlement, and noted that the dismissal of this complaint counts as a strike under 28 U.S.C. 1915(g). Because plaintiff has at least three other strikes, he is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis.

Download PDF
Case: 16-30109 Document: 00514005238 Page: 1 Date Filed: 05/24/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 16-30109 Summary Calendar United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED May 24, 2017 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk JAMES COLEMAN, Plaintiff–Appellant, versus LINCOLN PARISH DETENTION CENTER; ANNA RAWSON; JIM TUTEN; R. JOHNSON; CECIL SMITH; DEPUTY WARDEN YELVERTON; CHAPLAIN DENTON; JIM FORDHAM; LIEUTENANT OTWELL; DEPUTY A. QUALLS Defendants–Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Before JOLLY, SMITH, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: James Coleman, Louisiana prisoner # 214322, appeals the dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, which was filed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), as Case: 16-30109 Document: 00514005238 Page: 2 Date Filed: 05/24/2017 No. 16-30109 frivolous and for failure to state a claim. 1 “When a district court dismisses a complaint both as frivolous and as failing to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) & (ii), we review the dismissal de novo.” 2 This court affords pro se pleadings liberal construction. 3 But even for pro se plaintiffs, such as Coleman, “conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice” to state a claim for relief. 4 By the time Coleman filed his original complaint, he had been transferred from the Lincoln Parish Detention Center (“LPDC”) to the Jefferson Parish Detention Center. That transfer mooted his claims for declaratory and injunctive relief under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 5 and the possibility of his transfer back to the LPDC is too speculative to warrant relief. 6 In addition, RLUIPA does not authorize a private cause of action for compensatory or punitive damages against the appellees in their individual or official capacities. 7 As for Coleman’s claim that his right to exercise his religion freely under the First Amendment was violated because he was not allowed to attend Jumu’ah prayer services, he has identified no other restrictions on his ability to express or exercise his faith. Thus, the district court did not err in dismissing that claim. 8 1 See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b)(1). 2 Samford v. Dretke, 562 F.3d 674, 678 (5th Cir. 2009). 3 Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378 (5th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 4 5 See Cooper v. Sheriff, Lubbock Cty., 929 F.2d 1078, 1084 (5th Cir. 1991). 6 See Herman v. Holiday, 238 F.3d 660, 665 (5th Cir. 2001). 7 Sossamon v. Lone Star State of Tex., 560 F.3d 316, 329–31 (5th Cir. 2009). 8 See O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 351–52 (1987). 2 Case: 16-30109 Document: 00514005238 Page: 3 Date Filed: 05/24/2017 No. 16-30109 Coleman’s claims regarding the denial of medical care, negligent or deliberately indifferent infliction of injury, interference with his mail/denial of access to the courts, denial of equal protection, and retaliation were either not briefed at all or not adequately briefed. Thus, they are deemed abandoned. 9 Finally, Coleman never filed a formal motion requesting leave to file his proposed third amended complaint, and his “proposed order” accompanying that complaint did not qualify as such a motion because it offered no arguments as to why good cause authorized the filing of the complaint. The proposed third amended complaint thus had no legal effect. 10 As a result, the following persons, though named in the proposed third amended complaint and in the caption of this appeal, are not parties to this lawsuit: (1) Deputy Warden Yelverton, (2) Chaplain Denton; (3) Jim Fordham; (4) Lieutenant Otwell; (5) Deputy A. Qualls; and (6) Jefferson Parish Detention Center. Accordingly, the judgment is AFFIRMED. Coleman’s motion for a proposed settlement is DENIED. The dismissal of the complaint counts as a strike under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). 11 Coleman has at least three other strikes. 12 As a result, he is See Yohey v. Collins, 985 F.2d 222, 224–25 (5th Cir. 1993) (stating that pro se appellants must brief arguments to preserve them); Brinkmann v. Dallas Cty. Deputy Sheriff Abner, 813 F.2d 744, 748 (5th Cir. 1987) (holding that an appellant’s failure to address the merits of a district court’s decision or to identify any error in its legal analysis was “the same as if he had not appealed that judgment”). 9 See Thomas v. Chevron, 832 F.3d 586, 590–91 (5th Cir. 2016) (explaining that a motion for leave to amend must set forth good cause); United States ex rel. Mathews v. HealthSouth Corp., 332 F.3d 293, 296 (5th Cir. 2003) (holding that failure to obtain leave to file an amended complaint when required “results in an amended complaint[’s] having no legal effect”); United States v. Jenkins, 780 F.2d 518, 520 (5th Cir. 1986) (stating that even pro se litigants must comply with relevant procedural rules). 10 11 See Adepegba v. Hammons, 103 F.3d 383, 387–88 (5th Cir. 1996). (1) Coleman v. Stalder, No. 5:96-cv-916 (W.D. La. Mar. 31, 1997) (dismissing the § 1983 complaint as frivolous); (2) Coleman v. Stalder, No. 5:95-cv-1380 (W.D. La. June 4, 12 3 Case: 16-30109 Document: 00514005238 Page: 4 Date Filed: 05/24/2017 No. 16-30109 BARRED from proceeding IFP in any civil action or appeal filed while he is incarcerated or detained in any facility unless he is under imminent danger of serious physical injury. 13 1996) (dismissing the § 1983 complaint as frivolous); and (3) Coleman v. McMahen, No. 5:92cv-97 (W.D. La. Sept. 24, 1992) (dismissing the § 1983 complaint for failure to state a claim). See Adepegba, 103 F.3d at 386 (holding that civil actions that were dismissed before enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act may count as strikes). 13 See § 1915(g). 4