W.D.N.C.: Prisoner’s § 1983 strip search case dismissed

Pro se prison inmate plaintiff fails to state claims for § 1983 relief including alleged arbitrary strip searches. With his disciplinary record, they aren’t arbitrary. He’s in a prison, after all. Wright v. United States, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59884 (W.D. N.C. Apr. 3, 2020):

Plaintiff argues that Defendants are imposing excessive strip searches by requiring strip searches for recreation, medical and mental health appointments, disciplinary hearings, visits, and court trips. Plaintiff appears to allege that he is choosing to forego mental health treatment and recreation to avoid the strip searches and that the lack of treatment and recreation is negatively impacting his mental and physical well-being.

Plaintiff has failed to state a sufficient § 1983 claim. Plaintiff is a convicted inmate who admits he has accrued numerous prison disciplinary infractions for gang activity. See generally Bell, 441 U.S. at 559 (noting that detention facility is a unique place fraught with serious security dangers). Although Plaintiff conclusively asserts that Defendants’ actions were taken without any apparent legitimate penological purpose, does not support that conclusion with any factual allegations and has alleged nothing to suggest that the strip searches are unreasonable in any way. See generally Assoc. Gen. Contractors of Ca., Inc. v. Ca. St. Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526, 103 S. Ct. 897, 74 L. Ed. 2d 723 (1983) (although the court must assume the plaintiff can prove the facts alleged, it is not proper to assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that it has not alleged or that defendants have violated the law in ways that have not been alleged). Plaintiff’s vague and conclusory allegations fail to state a plausible claim that he is being subjected to unreasonable searches. See, e.g., Whitehead v. Marcantel, 766 Fed. Appx. 691 (10th Cir. 2019) (affirming dismissal of inmate’s § 1983 claim that strip searches prior to family visits violates the Fourth Amendment where plaintiff failed to allege any facts to support his assertion that pre-visit searches are unreasonable). This claim will therefore be dismissed.

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