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Clark v. Nebraska Department of Correction's

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 17, 2018

JEROME M. CLARK, Plaintiff,
NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION'S, MICKIE BAUM, Record's Administrator, VAL GRANHOLM, Records, SCOTT FRAKES, Prison Director, and PETE RICKETES, Govenor, Defendants.


          Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jerome Clark, a pro se litigant now incarcerated at the Lincoln Correctional Center (“LCC”), filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action in which he complains about a hodgepodge of issues ranging from the restoration of good time to conditions of confinement. The court has granted Plaintiff permission to proceed in forma pauperis, and 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.


         Plaintiff brings this § 1983 action against the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (“NDCS”), state employees Mickie Baum and Val Granholm who deal with “records, ” NDCS Director Frakes, and Nebraska Governor Ricketts in their official capacities only. Plaintiff broadly challenges “dead time not being sent, jail time credit being in error, miscellaneous detainer's and good time restoration miscalculation's, ” as well as “staff assault's, k2 drug abuse, on going overcrowding, alienation, extortion, stealing and fighting.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 3.)

         Plaintiff refers to “3 years of undocumented dead time it's not stated on my time sentence inquiry sheet in a mix of miscalculated time sentence errors from jail time credit good time and error of sentence structure.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 7.) He also complains about “being stampeded by people, ” inmates who “steal fight and alienate you so they can extort money from each other, ” guards who are “bring'n in k2 at the nebraska state penitentiary, ” and being “over run with petty thieves” who have assaulted two of his cell mates for debts related to k2. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5.)

         Attached to Plaintiff's Complaint are documents indicating that 335 days of good time were restored to him on June 8, 2017, based on Plaintiff's “Factor Rating Score, ” “Sentence Structure, ” and “medical, security or assignment needs.” The documents also show that Plaintiff's June 16, 2017, “classification appeal” requesting more good time was denied. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 16-17.)

         While Plaintiff's prayer for relief is not entirely clear, it appears he requests to be released, to confer with a lawyer after his release about money damages, and to “see a doctor to have me highly and heavily medicated after being incarcerated in nebraska.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5.)


         The 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).

         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).

         Liberally construed, Plaintiff here 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).


         Plaintiff sues the NDCS and Defendants Baum, Granholm, Frakes, and Ricketts ...

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