276 F.3d 385 (8th Cir. 2001), 01-1463, Ware v Morrison

Docket Nº:01-1463
Citation:276 F.3d 385
Party Name:ALLEN B. WARE, APPELLEE, v. MARVIN D. MORRISON, WARDEN, FCI - FORREST CITY; GLEN E. TRAMMEL, WARDEN, BUREAU OF PRISONS, FPC NELLIS, NEVADA; JINNY VAN BUREN, MS., ASSOCIATE WARDEN, FCI - FORREST CITY, APPELLANTS.
Case Date:October 02, 2001
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 385

276 F.3d 385 (8th Cir. 2001)

ALLEN B. WARE, APPELLEE,

v.

MARVIN D. MORRISON, WARDEN, FCI - FORREST CITY; GLEN E. TRAMMEL, WARDEN, BUREAU OF PRISONS, FPC NELLIS, NEVADA; JINNY VAN BUREN, MS., ASSOCIATE WARDEN, FCI - FORREST CITY, APPELLANTS.

No. 01-1463

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 2, 2001

January 8, 2002

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Page 386

Peter R. Maier, argued, Washington, DC (Stuart E. Schiffer, Michael D. Johnson, Barbara L. Herwig, on the brief), for appellant.

Regina Haralson, argued, Little Rock, AR, for appellee.

Before Bowman, Heaney, and Bye, Circuit Judges.

Bowman, Circuit Judge

Allen B. Ware, a federal prisoner, brought this Bivens suit against federal prison officials Marvin Morrison, Glen Trammel, and Jinny Van Buren.1 Ware claims that his due-process rights were violated by the temporary suspension of visiting privileges for his wife and two other women. Ware seeks damages from the defendants as well as injunctive relief. The defendants appeal from the denial of their motion to dismiss or for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. In addition to denying their motion for qualified immunity, the District Court, pending the final outcome of the case, partially granted Ware's request for an injunction by requiring the defendants to give Ware visitation privileges with his wife. Defendants also appeal this grant of a preliminary injunction. We reverse the District Court's denial of qualified immunity to the prison officials and vacate the injunction.

I.

Certain facts material to Ware's suit are not in dispute. In March 1999 while incarcerated at Federal Prison Camp-Fort Nellis (FPC-Nellis), Ware was found in possession of contraband. Immediately preceding this incident, Ware had a series of visitors, one of whom was his wife. The misuse of extra prison-visitation passes had facilitated some of these visits. After Ware was found with contraband, disciplinary procedures were invoked pursuant to Bureau of Prison regulations, including an incident report and investigation. See 28 C.F.R. § 541.14 (2001). Further, Ware received written notice of the charges and attended a hearing before the Unit Discipline Committee, which subsequently referred the charge along with recommendations to the Discipline Hearing Officer (DHO). The DHO made written findings in a report dated March 23, 1999. The DHO sanctioned Ware with loss of good-time credits and a disciplinary transfer. The DHO did not limit Ware's visitation privileges.

On April 8, 1999, FPC-Nellis Warden Trammel concluded that, for the safety of the institution and to avoid security threats, Ware's visitation privileges should be suspended with respect to his wife and two other women who apparently were also involved in helping Ware obtain contraband goods. In a letter to Ware's wife,

Page 387

a copy of which was placed in Ware's file, Warden Trammel notified her that she could not visit her husband for eighteen months. Later, after Ware was transferred to the Federal Corrections Institution at Forrest City, its warden, defendant Morrison, kept the suspension of Ware's visitation privileges in place for the same period of time. Ware alleges that the defendants' actions violated his constitutional rights under the Due Process Clause. Defendants maintain that actions restricting Ware's ability to receive particular visitors did not violate his rights under clearly established law or otherwise.

II.

We first address the denial of the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity. We review the District Court's order denying summary judgment de novo. See Sexton v. Martin, 210 F.3d 905, 909 (8th Cir. 2000); Cornell v. Woods, 69 F.3d 1383, 1390 (8th Cir. 1995). Following the most recent Supreme Court decision on qualified immunity, we undertake a two-step inquiry. See Saucier v. Katz, 121 S.Ct. 2151, 2155 (2001). First, we must inquire whether the facts alleged, when taken in the light most favorable to the party asserting the injury, show that the defendant officials violated a constitutional right. See id. at 2156. If we determine that the plaintiff has shown a violation of a constitutional right, we then must inquire whether the constitutional right was clearly established. See id.

Ware argues that he has met the first prong of the qualified-immunity inquiry because his Fifth Amendment due-process rights were violated when Warden Trammel suspended his visitation privileges without a hearing. We must determine whether Ware, while serving time...

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