Butler v. Porter, No. 19-30029 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a federal prisoner filed a Bivens action against various staff members at the Oakdale Federal Correctional complex, claiming, inter alia, that he had been held in the prison's Special Housing Unit (SHU) without due process for over 280 days. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of his First Amendment and Due Process claims, denial of his motions for appointment of counsel, and denial of leave to file a surreply and amend his complaint.
The Fifth Circuit concluded that Watkins v. Three Admin. Remedy Coordinators of Bureau of Prisons, No. 19-40869, 2021 WL 2070612, at *3 (5th Cir. May 24, 2021), foreclosed plaintiff's challenge to the district court's conclusion that Bivens did not create an implied cause of action for his First Amendment retaliation claim. The court upheld the district court's sua sponte dismissal of plaintiff's claim that defendants violated his due process rights by placing him in SHU. In this case, plaintiff failed to allege a protectable liberty interest and thus he has not shown any omissions in process violated the Constitution, regardless of whether the prison did or did not follow its own policies. The court dismissed the portion of plaintiff's appeal challenging the magistrate judge's denial of plaintiff's motions for appointment of counsel. The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to hear appeals directly from a magistrate judge. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's motions to amend his complaint. Accordingly, the court dismissed in part and affirmed in all other respects.