United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge
an inmate in the Douglas County Correctional Center, brings
this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action for money damages against
Douglas County Corrections and the State of Nebraska. The
court previously granted Plaintiff permission to proceed in
forma pauperis in this action. The court now conducts an
initial review of the Complaint (Filing No. 1) to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
alleges that the Defendants are violating “all [his]
civil rights” because “they are ignoring
[him].” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 4.)
Plaintiff claims unnamed “state employees” have
ignored his grievances regarding denial of medical attention
and have “come into [his] cell while [he] was
sleep[ing] and done surgery.” (Filing No. 1 at
CM/ECF p. 5.)
asks the court to obtain his grievances because
“they” will not send him copies; to
“compare [his] body to old x-rays of doctors and
hospitals”; to “investigate all employees”
regarding his allegations; to “help [him] to gain
control of [his] life and put things back together to be an
American citizen with rights as every American”; and to
“provide a legal team.” (Filing No. 1 at
CM/ECF pp. 5, 7-8 (capitalization corrected).)
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); 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 here attempts to allege 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
Douglas County Department of Corrections
Douglas County Department of Corrections is not a proper
defendant. See Dan v. Douglas Cty. Dep't of Corr.,
No. 8:06CV714, 2009 WL 483837, at *4 (D. Neb. Feb. 25,
2009) (the DCDC lacks the legal capacity to sue or be sued in
its own name because it has no elected or appointed governing
body with the authority to make appropriations and
expenditures apart from Douglas County). Because the DCDC is
not a separate legal entity from Douglas County,
Plaintiff's claims against the DCDC shall be construed as
claims against Douglas County. Parsons v. McCann,
138 F.Supp.3d 1086, 1097 (D. Neb. 2015) (Nebraska law allows
counties to sue and be sued, but the same is not true of
county offices and departments); Griggs v. Douglas Cty.
Corr. Ctr., No. 8:07CV404, 2008 WL 1944557, at *1 (D.
Neb. Apr. 29, 2008) (same); Porter v. Hennepin Cty., No.
CIV. 06-3142, 2006 WL 3841540, at *1 (D. Minn. Dec. 29,
2006) (dismissing county department of community corrections
as defendant in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action because
department was not separate legal entity from county itself).
county “may only be held liable for constitutional
violations which result from a policy or custom of the
municipality, ” Yellow Horse v. Pennington
Cty.,225 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2000), whether the
policy or custom is “made by its lawmakers or by those
whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official
policy.” Gladden v. Richbourg, 759 F.3d 960, 968
(8th Cir. 2014); Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs.,436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978) (“Congress did
not intend ...