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Grievance System Does Not Create Liberty Interest

A federal prisoner brought a Bivens action against the prison warden and case manager for denying him access to the prison grievance system. The district court granted summary judgment to prison officials and the court of appeals affirmed.

The court of appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that prison regulations providing for an administrative remedy do not in and of themselves create a liberty interest in access to that procedure when the claim underlying the grievance involves a constitutional right. The prisoner's right of access to the courts is not compromised by the prison officials refusal to entertain the grievance and the prisoner can file suit directly in court. See: Flick v. Alba, 932 F.2D 729 (8th Cir. 1991).

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Related legal case

Flick v. Alba

Norman Z. Flick, Appellant, v. Julie W. Alba and Peter M. Carlson, Appellees

No. 90-5564


932 F.2d 728; 1991 U.S. App.

April 29, 1991, Submitted
May 6, 1991, Filed

PRIOR HISTORY: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Honorable Harry H. MacLaughlin, Judge.

Counsel who represented the Appellant was Pro Se.
Counsel who represented the Appellee was Mary Jo Madigan of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Arnold, Wollman, and Beam, Circuit Judges.


[*729] Norman Z. Flick, an inmate at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Rochester, Minnesota, appeals the district court's n1 order granting defendant prison officials' motion for summary judgment. We affirm.

n1 The Honorable Harry H. MacLaughlin, United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota.

Flick filed his Bivens-type complaint against the case manager coordinator and the warden of FMC seeking injunctive relief and damages for their denial of his right of access to the prison's administrative remedy procedure. We conclude that the federal regulations providing for an administrative remedy procedure do not in and of themselves create a liberty interest in access to that procedure. When the claim underlying [**2] the administrative grievance involves a constitutional right, the prisoner's right to petition the government for redress is the right of access to the courts, which is not compromised by the prison's refusal to entertain his grievance. See Azeez v. DeRobertis, 568 F. Supp. 8, 10 (N.D. Ill. 1982) (although state prison grievance procedures "may be evidence of a parent substantive right, they do not in themselves trigger a protected liberty interest"). n2

n2 We note that, in any event, in this case denial of Flick's administrative complaint was in accordance with established procedure.

Accordingly, we affirm.