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Frank v. Madison County Sheriffs Department

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

December 30, 2014

JESSE ALAN FRANK, Plaintiff,
v.
MADISON COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOSEPH F. BATAILLON, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Jesse Alan Frank ("Plaintiff") filed his Complaint (Filing No. 1) in this matter on September 10, 2014. This court has given Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. The court now conducts an initial review of the Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. ยงยง 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is incarcerated in the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, Nebraska. Plaintiff named the following Defendants: Madison County Sheriff's Department, Captain Kotrous, Sargent Bill Kucera, John and Jane Does 1-20, Officer Blank, Officer Ralph, Officer Fleetwood, Officer Keiser, Officer Hegr, Officer Dittberner, Officer Molden, Officer Volt, Sargent Elznic, and 10-15 John and Jane Doe Employees of Madison County, Nebraska. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 1, 8.)

Plaintiff described a series of events in his Complaint, all of which allegedly occurred while he was housed in the Madison County Jail. First, Plaintiff alleged Kotrous, a Madison County official, informed him Madison County could not afford the cost of Plaintiff's "antipsychotic treatment[] called Invega." ( Id. at CM/ECF p. 8.) Kotrous gave Plaintiff the option of paying for the medication himself, but would not allow him to use his debit card because of a jail policy limiting inmates' use of the ATM machine. As a result, Plaintiff did not take Invega from November 15, 2013, to December 4, 2013. Following his release from jail, he suffered a grand mal seizure. A neurologist informed him the seizure was likely "caused by the start-and-stopping of [his] prescribed medication while at the Madison County Jail." ( Id. at CM/ECF p. 9.)

Second, Plaintiff alleged the following occurred from September 6, 2013, to January 14, 2014:

Captain[] Kotrous, Officer Blank, Officer Ralph, Officer Fleetwood, Sarge[]nt Bill Kucera, Office Keiser, Officer Hegr, Officer Dittberner, Officer Molden, Officer Volt, Sarge[]nt Elznic and approximately 10 other John and Jane Doe County Employees either individually or in conspiracy with one or more among them, similarly infringed upon or intentionally interfer[]ed with my First Amendment right of requested access to my Christian Bible; they arbitrarily and capriciously interfer[]ed with my Fifth Amendment right of access to the courts; and my right to timely and appropriate Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel in the matter of my ongoing criminal case proceedings. As a direct or proximate cause of these abuses I was further victimized by fear, mental anguish and misery while those County Employees exhibited their apparent attitudes of deliberate indifference toward my serious medical and legal needs.

( Id. at CM/ECF p. 9.)

Third, Plaintiff alleged that, at some point during his incarceration, unidentified officers housed him in a strip cell for 18 days. ( Id. ) Officers held him in the strip cell for 24-hours per day with no bed and an extremely bright florescent light that was never turned off. Officers did not allow Plaintiff to shower and they forced him to wear a smock. Plaintiff alleged officers justified their actions by falsely alleging he was a danger to himself, but their true motive was to retaliate against him because of his insistence that they provide him "an appointment and proper [and] timely treatment by a qualified medical doctor." ( Id. at CM/ECF p. 10.)

Fourth, Plaintiff alleged an unidentified officer denied him use of his eyeglasses on January 11, 2014. ( Id. at CM/ECF p. 10.)

Fifth, Plaintiff alleged during his incarceration he repeatedly asked officers to provide him medical treatment because he felt he was succumbing to a mental breakdown, but they refused to do so. He alleged their refusal was in retaliation for his attempts to "assert and protect [his] rights protected under both the Nebraska and United States Constitution and laws which pertain to them." ( Id. )

Sixth, Plaintiff alleged Kotrous and other unidentified officers denied him access to the courts in the following manner:

I assert I was also denied access to the Courts. The first complaint I filed was dismissed due to some technical defficiancy [sic] in the document; The Prosecuter [sic], Joe Smith, informed me at the following court appearance. My Complaint, being over (16) hand written pages and the Sher[]iffs' office denial of these needed resources to complete another complaint. By the defendents [sic] denial specifically Captain Kotrous, of access to paper and writing supplies, this raises the level of negligence to deliberate indif[f]rence. These actions of Captian Kotrous and the other defendents [sic] completely impeded and interfered with my ability to comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the courts. My 2 other attempts were somehow misconstrude [sic] and combined into my criminal case CR13-245. This was the Direct cause and effect of Captian [sic] Kotrous and other defendents [sic] arbitrary denial of meaningful access to the Law Library and its deficiencies.

( Id. at CM/ECF pp. 10-11.)

Seventh, Plaintiff alleged officers denied him meaningful access to the law library because "[o]ut of the 130 days detained[, ] [he] was allowed aprox. 28 days (1 hour intervals) time of access." ( Id. at CM/ECF p. 11.) Plaintiff also alleged the law library was deficient because the state statutes were ...


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