United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
APPLICABLE STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must dismiss
a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or
malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to
"nudge their claims across the line from conceivable
to plausible, " or "their complaint must be
dismissed." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) ("A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged").
essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair
notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a
general indication of the type of litigation
involved.'" Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir.
1999)). However, "[a] pro se complaint must be liberally
construed, and pro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading
standard than other parties." Topchian, 760
F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
a nonprisoner, has filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
against three clerks of the Douglas County Court in their
official and individual capacities, requesting an injunction
requiring the clerks to "file our notices of appeal in
criminal traffic cases CR16-8023 etc. take appeal to
judge." (Filing No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that the
clerks "have destroyed" his appeals and have failed
to take his "NRS 29-2412 motions to judge for his . . .
order." Plaintiff seeks $1 million in damages.
Access to the Courts
construing Plaintiff's limited allegations, Plaintiff
seems to be claiming that the county clerks' actions have
deprived him of his constitutional right to access the
courts. While the constitutional basis for this right has
been recognized as "unsettled, " Christopher v.
Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 & n.12 (2002),  an
access-to-the-courts claim (whatever its constitutional
basis) requires a plaintiff to have a nonfrivolous, arguable,
underlying claim, id., and the plaintiff must show
that the county clerks' actions caused the plaintiff to
suffer actual injury or prejudice. Maness v. Dist. Court
of Logan Cty., 495 F.3d 943, 944 (8th Cir. 2007). The
right of access to the courts "applies not only to the
actual denial of access to the courts, but also to situations
in which the plaintiff has been denied meaningful access by
some impediment put up by the defendant." Scheeler
v. City of St. Cloud, Minn., 402 F.3d 826, 830 (8th Cir.
case, Plaintiff alleges nothing about the case the Defendants
have prevented him from appealing or about the claims at
issue in that case such that the court can analyze whether
Plaintiff has a nonfrivolous, arguable, underlying claim and
whether the Defendants' actions caused Plaintiff to
suffer actual injury or prejudice. Plaintiff will be given
leave to file an amended complaint in order to make such
clerks are absolutely immune for "discretionary"
acts, which are those taken at a judge's direction or
pursuant to court rule. Geitz v. Overall, 62
Fed.App'x 744, 2003 WL 1860542, at *1 (8th Cir.
2003) (unpublished) (citing Antoine v. Byers & Anderson,
Inc.,508 U.S. 429, 436 (1993)). "Court clerks have
absolute quasi-judicial immunity from damages for civil
rights violations when they perform tasks that are an
integral part of the judicial process, unless the clerks
acted in the clear absence of all ...