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. (Filing No. 1.) For the
reasons that follow, the court finds Plaintiff's
pleadings do not state any claims on which relief may be
granted. However, the court will allow Plaintiff to file an
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
maintains that Defendants violated the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act, as well as his due process
rights. Plaintiff alleges that while he was incarcerated in
Lancaster County Jail, he requested that Defendant John Doe
provide him with religious reading materials. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant John Doe denied his request. Plaintiff
further contends that he submitted a grievance to Defendant
Jane Doe about the denial of his request for the materials,
but that she did not respond. (Filing No. 1.)
STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
court is required to review prisoner and in forma pauperis
complaints seeking relief against a governmental entity or an
officer or employee of a governmental entity to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A. 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. §
1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 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).
has failed to state a claim under the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”). The
Supreme Court recently discussed the standard applicable to
claims under RLUIPA:
Section 3 [of RLUIPA]-the provision at issue in this
case-governs religious exercise by institutionalized persons,
§ 2000cc-1. Section 3 . . . provides that ‘[n]o
government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious
exercise of a person residing in or confined to an
institution . . . even if the burden results from a rule of
general applicability, unless the government demonstrates
that imposition of the burden on that person-(1) is in
furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is
the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling
governmental interest.' § 2000cc-1(a).
Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S.Ct. 853, 860 (2005).
Plaintiff alleges that he requested a copy of the
“Rites of Initiation of the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite.” Plaintiff claims that Defendant John
Doe denied his request because the materials were too
extensive. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 7-8.)
Plaintiff claims that he subsequently requested
“Pietre-Stone Review: Rites of Initiation of the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, ” but that his
request was denied because the publication was copyrighted.
(Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 8.) These allegations do
not explain how Plaintiff's exercise of religion was