United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. Bataillon Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court on initial review of Plaintiff
Riley Nicole Shadle's Complaint. Filing No. 1.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. For the
reasons discussed below, the court will allow Shadle's
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims to proceed to service
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
is incarcerated at the Lincoln Correctional Center in
Lincoln, Nebraska. Shadle alleges that he suffers from gender
identity disorder (“GID”). The court can infer
from Shadle's allegations that he was born male, but
identifies as female. In addition, he alleges he has a
history of harming himself, including an attempt to castrate
himself. Shadle alleges defendants have refused to provide
him with hormone therapy to treat his gender identity
disorder. Shadle indicates that the stated reason for denying
hormone therapy is that he was not in the process of gender
transformation when he was incarcerated. For relief, Shadle
asks for an order requiring prison officials to treat him
with “feminizing hormones” and a gender
reassignment surgery and to permit him to wear women's
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).
claims that defendants are not treating his gender identity
disorder in violation of his constitutional rights. For
relief, Shadle seeks female hormone therapy and gender
reassignment surgery. At this stage in the proceedings, the
court expresses no opinion on whether female hormone therapy
or gender reassignment surgery is medically necessary for
Shadle or whether prison officials have legitimate reasons
for denying him such treatment. But, the court finds that the
allegations in Shadle's Complaint are sufficient to state
a claim for relief. See Rosati v. Igbinoso,
791 F.3d 1037 (9th Cir. 2015) (finding inmate stated a cause
of action under the Eighth Amendment based on denial of
request for sex reassignment surgery); De'lonta v.
Johnson, 708 F.3d 520, 526 n. 4 (4th Cir. 2013) (same);
Norsworthy v. Beard, 87 F.Supp.3d 1104, 1117 (N. D.
Cal. Mar. 31, 2015) (same); Soneeya v.
Spencer, 851 F.Supp.2d 228, 245 (D. Mass. Mar. 29, 2012)
(finding inmate diagnosed with GID, with a history of suicide
attempts and self mutilation, had a serious medical condition
for which the Eighth Amendment required treatment); see
also Fields v. Smith, 653 F.3d 550, 554-59 (7th Cir.
2011) (affirming a district court's determination that a
statute barring hormone treatment and gender reassignment
surgery for prisoners was unconstitutional).
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
case may proceed to service of process as to Shadle's
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against defendants.
Clerk of the Court is directed to send to Shadle a copy of
the Complaint, a copy of this Memorandum and Order, and
twelve (12) summons forms and USM 285 Form for service on
defendants. (See attached Notice Regarding Service.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) requires
service of the complaint on a defendant within 90 days of
filing the complaint. However, Shadle is granted, on the
court's own motion, an extension of time until 120 days
from the date of this order to complete service of process.
(See this Court's General Order No. 2015-06.)
requested to do so in this matter, the United States Marshal
will serve all process in this case without prepayment of
fees from Shadle. In making such a request, Shadle must
complete the USM 285 form to be submitted to the Clerk of the
Court with the completed summons form. Without these
documents, the United States Marshal will not serve process.
Upon receipt of the completed forms, the Clerk of Court will
sign the ...