United States District Court, D. Nebraska
RICHARD ERIN GRAY, SR. Plaintiff,
CITY OF SAINT PAUL, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge.
filed his Complaint in this matter on June 30, 2016. (Filing
No. 1.) Plaintiff, who has been given leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, filed a supplement to his
Complaint on July 22, 2016. (Filing No. 6.) The
court now conducts an initial review of the Complaint and
supplement (collectively referred to herein as
“Complaint”) to determine whether summary
dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Complaint is rambling and extremely difficult to decipher.
Plaintiff names a host of defendants, including the State of
Nebraska, State of Iowa, and State of Minnesota. Plaintiff
also names several cities, counties, correctional facilities,
police officers, and other individuals as defendants.
Complaint includes wide-ranging allegations, including, but
not limited to, claims of unlawful search and seizure,
assault, theft, slander, unconstitutional conditions of
confinement, interference with religious beliefs, and
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).
construed, Plaintiff here alleges federal constitutional
claims. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected by the
United States Constitution or created by federal statute and
also must show that the alleged deprivation was caused by
conduct of a person acting under color of state law. West
v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Buckley v.
Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495 (8th Cir. 1993).
Complaint contains a variety of claims which seemingly arise
from different incidents. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20
states that multiple defendants may be joined in the same
action only if “any right to relief is asserted against
them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect
to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2)(A) (emphasis added). In addition,
there must be a “question of law or fact common to all
defendants” in the action. Fed. R. Civ. P.
20(a)(2)(B). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21,
the proper remedy for improper joinder of parties is for the
court to “drop a party” or “sever any claim
against a party.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 21. The
court may do so “[o]n motion or on its own.”
claims arise out of multiple, unrelated events. Therefore,
Plaintiff will be required to file an amended complaint that
sets forth only related claims that stem from the same basic
event or occurrence. Plaintiff is warned that upon screening
the amended complaint, the court will consider whether
unrelated claims should be severed. If Plaintiff's
amended complaint sets forth unrelated claims, and the court
decides severance is appropriate, Plaintiff will be required
to prosecute unrelated claims in separate actions and could
be required to pay a separate filing fee for each separate
is further advised that the court questions whether it has
personal jurisdiction over multiple defendants who are
located outside the State of Nebraska. Plaintiff should keep