Nov 9, 2020 — Plaintiff-Appellant Jamaal Ali Bilal is civilly committed and housed in the. Florida Civil Commitment Center (“FCCC”), in part because he has
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[PUBLISH ] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 16 -11722 ________________________ D.C. Docket No. 2:14 -cv-00422 -SPC -MRM JAMAAL ALI BILAL, f.k.a. John L. Burton, a.k.a. Superman, Plaintiff РAppellant, versus GEO CARE, LLC, FNU GARZA, FCCC Custody Officer, individually and in his official capacity as Transport Officer, FNU JARVIS, FCCC Custody Officer, individually and in his official capacity as Transport Official, THE GEO GROUP, INC., CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC, et al., Defendants ΠAppellees, DAVID W ILKINS , Secretary, Department of Children & Families, Defendant. USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 1 of 31

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2 ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Cou rt for the Middle District of Florida ________________________ (November 9, 2020) Before MARTIN, ROSENBAUM, and TALLMAN, * Circuit Judges. ROSENBAUM, Circuit Judge: The civilly committed may not be punished merely because they are civilly committed. And under the Fourteenth Amendment, they enjoy a substantive -due -process right to liberty interests in, among other things, safety and freedom from bodily restraint . So though the State may appropriately take measures to protect the public from civilly committed individuals found to be dangerous, it must do so in a way that is consistent with professional judgment about what is necessary. Plaintiff -Appellant Jamaal Ali Bi lal is civilly committed and housed in the Florida Civil Commitment Center (fiFCCCfl) , in part because he has been found to represent a danger to the public. Bilal alleged that, during a trip to a court hearing located about 600 miles from the FCCC, Defendants -Appellees, who include the Secretary of Florida™s Department of Children and Families (fiDCFfl) and several individuals associated with the FCCC (which is under the purview of the Secretary of DCF) and with GEO Care, Inc. (which, by contract, runs the FCCC), restrained, * The Honorable Richard C. Tallman, Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting by designation. USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 2 of 31

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3 transported, and temporarily housed him in a manner that was inconsistent with professional judgment and therefore violated his Fourteenth Amendm ent rights. The district court disagreed and dismissed the case for failure to state a claim. After careful consideration and with the benefit of oral argument, we now affirm in part and reverse in part. I. A. Background Facts Bilal is civilly committe d at the FCCC under Florida™s Involuntary Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act, Fla. Stat. § 394.910 , et seq ., commonly known as the Jimmy Ryce Act. He was sent to the FCCC in 2001 after he stipulated that he qualified as a fisexually violent predator,fl meaning he was previously convicted of a sexually violent offense, and at the time of commitment, he had a fimental abnormality or personality disorderfl that makes him filikely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure faci lity for long -term control, care, and treatment.fl Fla. Stat. § 394.912(10). Under Florida law, anyone determined to be a fisexually violent predatorfl is committed to the custody of the DCF and housed in a secure facility until the individual™s condition h as improved to the point that it is safe to release him into the community. Fla. Stat. § 394.917(2); see also Pesci v. Budz , 730 F.3d 1291, 1299 (11 th Cir. 2013). Those committed USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 3 of 31

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4 under the statute are entitled to periodic judicial review to make that det ermination. Fla. Stat. § 394.91 8(1). A state -court judge in Escambia County ordered a hearing at the Escambia County Courthouse in Pensacola, Florida, to determine whether Bilal was eligible for release from civil confinement. Garza and Jarvis, 1 two armed guards from the FCCC, transported Bilal roughly 600 miles by van to Escambia County. Th e state court then conducted the relevant hearing on September 10, 2013 . Following the hearing, Bilal was housed in the Santa Rosa County Jail until October 1 0, 2013, when the judge den ied Bilal™s release from civil confinement . At that time, Garza and Jarvis drove Bilal the approximately 600 miles back to the FCCC. B. Procedural History Bilal filed a pro se complaint in state court, invoking 42 U.S.C. § 198 3 and Fl orida Stat ute § 768.28, and asserting that Defendants -Appellees GEO Care, Inc., (fiGEOfl) , David Wilkins, Garza , and Jarvis (collectively referred to as the fiDefendantsfl), violated his civil rights , based on things that he alleges happened during the trip to and from Escambia County . At the time of the events alleged in the complaint, Wilkins served as the Secretary of Florida™s DCF; by contract with 1 The complaint indicates only the last names of the transport guards , so we refer to them by their last names, Garza and Jarvis . USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 4 of 31

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5 DCF, GEO operated and managed the FCCC; and as we have noted, FCCC guards Garza and Jarvis transported Bilal. Defendants removed the action to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, which ultimately dismissed it . But along the way, Bilal filed a Third Amended Complaint, which added new defendants and is the opera tive pleading in this case. Among other things, the Third Amended Complaint began referring to GEO as GEO Care, LLC. GEO nonetheless continued throughout the litigation to respond. 2 Because GEO has responded throughout this litigation to filings addres sed to GEO Care, Inc., and GEO Care, LLC, we use fiGEOfl in this opinion to refer to both designations. The Third Amended Complaint also ceased to mention Wilkins, substituting then -DCF Secretary Mike Carroll in his place. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d). We rev iew the relevant allegations in the Third Amended Complaint. But before doing so, we note that we are reviewing the district court™s order granting the defendants™ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil 2 The alternate name appears to be a misnomer rather than the identification of an incorrect party. Based on the parties™ actions Šparticularly GEO ™s responsiveness to filings addressing GEO Care, Inc., on the one hand, and GEO Care, LLC, on the other Šno uncertainty exists about the identity of the defendant and we can discern no prejudice to GEO. See Morrel v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. , 188 F.3d 218, 224 (4th Cir. 1999) ( misnomer was immaterial since the defendant was not misled in any w ay by it) . Nor has GEO asserted any defense or filed any motion raising this issue, so any objection appears to have been waived. And u nder these circumstances, where Bilal seem s to have made a mistake as to the name, GEO fishould not be permitted to take advantage of a mere misnomer that injured no one.fl Grandey v. Pac . Indem. Co. , 217 F.2d 27, 29 (5th Cir. 1954). USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 5 of 31

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6 Procedure 12(b)( 6). So we set forth the allegations in the complaint as though they are true, viewing them in the light most favorable to Bilal. Am. Dental Ass™n v. Cigna Corp. , 605 F.3d 1283, 1288 (11th Cir. 2010). Of course, if Bilal™s action proceeds , he will have to prove his allegations. Now, the allegations: d uring the trip to and from Escambia County, Garza and Jarvis used leg irons, waist chains, and black -box3 restraints on Bilal. They also deprived Bilal of food, except for a bottle of water and two slices of cheese on two stale pieces of bread, and they refused to allow him any bathroom breaks during the lengthy trip. Because Bilal needed to defecate, he had to do so into his clothing and then sit in his feces for about 300 miles of the trip. Plus, the van seats were cramped , and that, in combination with the shackling, aggravated his pre -existing knee injuries . Adding to Bilal™s misery, the guards traveled at excessive speeds as Garza fileisurely review [ed] child porn on his cellphone .fl Based on these allegations, Bilal set forth several counts in his pro se complaint. Because of Bilal™s pro se status, the breakdown of the specific counts is not neat and tidy. But we construe Bilal™s complaint to hav e made the following claims. 3 A black box is a rectangular device that fits over a pair of handcuffs . It is designed t o limit hand movements and prevent access to the handcuff™s key holes. USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 6 of 31

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8 mental -health treatment, which caused him not to be able to advance in his mental -health treatment back at the F CCC; Garza and Jarvis , annoyed with Bilal™s complaints, influenced the jail guards to act abusively towards Bilal, which caused Bilal to become suicidal and to have to spend two weeks in a suicide cell in the jail; and he was placed in confinement at the j ail and did not have access to television, phone calls, the law library, visitation, fresh -air exercise, canteen privileges, or religious groups .5 Bilal sought declaratory and injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages . After Bilal filed the Third Amended Complaint, the district court issued an order directing Bilal, by July 1, 2015, to complete service -of-process forms for the ten additional defendants (including Carroll and GEO Care, LLC) and to return ten additional copies of the Third Amended Complaint to the court for ser vic e. The Order warned that fi[f]ailure to return the completed forms within this allotted time period without further explanation will result in dismissal of this action without further notice.fl 5 Bilal also made some other claims that are not at issue on appeal, since he did not brief them. We therefore do not address them. See Access Now, Inc. v. Sw. Airlines Co., 385 F.3d 1324, 1330 (11th Cir. 2004) (fi [A] legal claim or argument that has not b een briefed before the [appellate] court is deemed abandoned and its merits will not be addressed .fl)). USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 8 of 31

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9 Bilal sought a thirt y-day extension of time to file a notice of lawsuit and request for waiver of service of summons , summons , and United States Marshal Service Form 285. Upon considering Bilal™s motion, the district court noted that the original D efendants (who had previously received service of process ) had not yet filed a response to the Third Amended C omplaint . So it directed those Defendants (GEO, Wilkins, Garza, and Jarvis) to file a response to the Third Amended Complaint. The court also found good cause to g rant Bilal™s motion for extension of time , and it gave him an additional thirty days from June 18, 2015, to comply with the previous order. It warned that fi[f]ailure to do so may result in the dismissal of the unserved defendants without further notice.fl In accordance with the district court™s order, t he original Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Third Amended Complaint on August 7, 2015 . Among other things, Defendants argued that, for the most part, the complaint failed to state a claim . Nevertheless, Defendants conceded that Garza and Jarvis™s alleged failure to allow a bathroom break fimay be enough to state a claimfl but asserted that it was not clear what type of claim Bilal intended to pursue. At the conclusion of their Motion to Di smiss, Defendants sought dismissal of all claims fiexcept for claims against Defendant GARZA and JARVIS in the first Count VI relating to [the ir] alleged [] refus [al] to allow [Bilal] a bathroom break during his trip to his hearing.fl USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 9 of 31

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10 Bilal opposed Defendan ts™ motion, but after Bilal™s extended period to serve the remaining Defendants expired , the district court granted the motion . Noting that more than 120 days had passed since Bilal had filed the Third Amended Complaint, the district court also concluded th at seven of the ten ostensibly as -yet unserved Defendants , which it said included GEO, should be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), and closed the case . As for the three other supposedly unserved D efendants (Craig Beloff, Manuel Fernandez, and Secretary Carroll) , the district court acknowledged that Bilal had submitted service forms for them . But because the district c ourt determined that the complaint failed to state any constitutional claims, it did not di rect service on these individuals . Based on its dismissal order, the district court entered judgment in favor of Defendants and against Bilal. Soon after , Bilal filed an affidavit regarding service. In the affidavit, Bilal explained that he p ut approxi mately sixteen U.S. Marshal forms in the mailbox , addressed to FCCC™s general counsel Brian Masonry , within the 120 -day deadline for service. He claimed he was indigent and could not afford the cost of serving the sixteen defendants in this case. On the same date, Bilal filed a motion to vacate the judgment and a motion to vacate the opinion granting the motion to dismiss. He later filed an amended motion to vacate and then a motion to reopen the case. USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 10 of 31

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11 Noting Bilal™s pro se status , the district court lib erally construed the filing s as motions for reconsideration under Rule 60, Fed. R. Civ. P. Ultimately though, the district court found no reason to grant relief. And as to service, the district court noted t hat Bilal had failed to comply with the court™s orders. Bilal appealed. We appointed counsel to represent him in these appellate proceedings .6 II. Bilal challenges the district court™s dismissal of his Fourteenth Amendment claims relating to his transport and to his detention. He also objects to the district court™s sua sponte dismissal of the case for lack of service of process. We address Bilal™s Four teenth Amendment claims in Section A and his service -related claim in Section B. A. We review de novo the district court™s dismissal of a case for failure to state a claim . Speaker v. U.S. Dep™t of Health & Hum . Servs . Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention , 623 F.3d 1371 , 1379 (11th Cir. 2010); Hill v. White , 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam) . As we have mentioned, on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, we fiaccept the factual allegations in the complaint as true and cons true them 6 We thank Attorney Valarie Linnen for accepting the appointment and capably discharging her duties. USCA11 Case: 16-11722 Date Filed: 11/09/2020 Page: 11 of 31

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