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Frank v. Douglas County

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

October 30, 2017

JESSE A. FRANK, Plaintiff,
v.
DOUGLAS COUNTY and CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge

         On September 11, 2017, the court entered a Memorandum and Order giving Plaintiff, who has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, “30 days in which to file an amended complaint that states a claim on which relief may be granted against Defendants Douglas County and Correct Care Solutions” (Filing No. 18).[1]Plaintiff's pro se Amended Complaint (Filing No. 21) was filed on October 11, 2017.[2]The court now conducts an initial review of the Amended Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2).

         I. SUMMARY OF AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff asserts multiple claims pertaining to a 33-day period during which he was confined in the Douglas County jail as a pretrial detainee.[3] Plaintiff alleges he (1) was denied medical treatment; (2) was not read his Miranda rights; (3) was wrongly placed in administrative confinement and was mistreated; (4) was attacked by three officers; (5) was denied access to the courts; and (6) was denied access to a Bible and newspaper. Plaintiff seeks to recover $51 billion in damages. In addition to Douglas County and Correct Care Solutions, Plaintiff names five officers as Defendants: Estevez, Grahm, Rose, Parks, and Grothe.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW

         The 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Pro se 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.”).

         “The 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).

         III. DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS

         Plaintiff indicates this action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a cause of action for “the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. Plaintiff claims to have been deprived of his rights under the First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments.[4]

         A. Claims Against Douglas County

         Plaintiff was advised in the court's August 28th Memorandum and Order that Douglas County may only be liable under section 1983 if a “policy” or “custom” of the county caused a violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Doe, 150 F.3d at 922 (citing Monell v. Department of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)). The court also instructed Plaintiff what he needed to plead and prove in this regard.

         Because Plaintiff has not included any factual allegations in the Amended Complaint to establish the existence of a policy or custom, Douglas County will be dismissed from the action. Any and all claims alleged against county officers in their official capacities will also be dismissed. See Parrish v. Luckie, 963 F.2d 201, 203 n.1 (8th Cir. 1992) (“Suits against persons in their official capacity are just another method of filing suit against the entity.”); Eagle v. Morgan, 88 F.3d 620, 629 n.5 (8th Cir. 1996) (“‘[A]n official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity.”' (quoting Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985)).

         B. Claims Against ...


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