United States District Court, D. Nebraska
VERNON R. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
DOUGLAS COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, and DOCTOR ASH, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Vernon Johnson, filed his Complaint (Filing No. 1) on
November 30, 2017, and was subsequently granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (Filing No. 7). The court now
conducts an initial review of Johnson's Complaint and to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under
28U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
is confined at the Douglas County Corrections Center
("DCCC"). Johnson alleges a request for medication
he submitted on September 23, 2017, was denied. He claims
Defendants were negligent in failing to provide medical care.
LEGAL 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).
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. JPMorsan 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).
DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS
alleges his Complaint is filed pursuant to the Nebraska
Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act ("PSTCA"),
Neb. Rev. Stat. §§13-901 to 13-928. No claim arising
under federal law is alleged.
court diversity jurisdiction of state law claims requires an
amount in controversy greater than $75, 000 and complete
diversity of citizenship between the litigants. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). The allegations of Johnson's Complaint
fail to show that either jurisdictional requirement is
this circuit, the amount in controversy is measured by the
value to the plaintiff of the right sought to be
enforced." Federated Mut. Ins. Co. v. Moody Station
& Grocery, 821 F.3d 973, 977 (8th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Schubert v. Auto Owners Ins. Co., 649 F.3d
817, 821 (8th Cir. 2011)). Johnson does not allege the
jurisdictional amount is satisfied, or even request an award
of monetary damages, but merely complains he did not receive
adequate medical treatment for relief of "pain, numbness
and locking of joints in both hands" associated with
carpal tunnel syndrome.
does not allege his citizenship. Although Douglas County
Department of Corrections is not a proper Defendant, see
Dan v. Douglas Cty. Pep't of Corr., No. 8:06CV714,
2009 WL 483837, at *4 (P. Neb. Feb. 25, 2009) (the Department
of Corrections and other units within the DCCC and Douglas
County lack the legal capacity to sue or be sued in their own
names), the county is a political subdivision of the State of
Nebraska. Thus, if Douglas County is named as a Defendant,
and if Johnson is a citizen of Nebraska, diversity
jurisdiction does not exist and an action under
Nebraska's PSTCA cannot be brought in federal court. The
same is true if either Correct Care Solutions or Doctor Ash
are citizens of the same State as Johnson.