United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed a Complaint on February 23, 2018. (Filing No.
1.) He has been given leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Filing No. 10.) The court now conducts an
initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e) and 1915A.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
a prisoner currently confined at the Lincoln Diagnostic and
Evaluation Center (“DEC”), has filed this 42
U.S.C. § 1983 action against the Lincoln County Court in
North Platte, Nebraska, and Debra McCarthy
(“McCarthy”), the Chief Clerk of the Lincoln
County Court. He alleges that on or about December 20, 2017,
and January 30, 2018, he mailed “several common-law
claims to [the] Clerk of Courts [of] Lincoln County and
received no reply stating a mistake, nor were [his] claims
time date stamped or filed and copied with one copy being
returned to [him] as in the instructions for clerk of
courts.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5
(punctuation corrected).) Plaintiff claims McCarthy “is
in dereliction of her duty, has obstructed process, and
trespassed on the case.” (Id. (punctuation
relief, Plaintiff requests this court order “Lincoln
County Court to apologize” and “subpoena any/all
professional liability reimbursement insurance plans that may
cover right(s) violations [and] all records of mailing to
Lincoln County Court for evidence.” (Id.)
Plaintiff also asks for $200, 000 in punitive damages and
$150, 000 in compensatory damages “for lost time in
pursuing [his] case.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 6.)
APPLICABLE 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 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).
Claims against Lincoln County Court
Plaintiff's claims for damages and injunctive relief
against the Lincoln County Court necessarily fail because
“courts as entities are not vulnerable to § 1983
suits, because they are protected by state immunity under the
eleventh amendment.” Harris v. Missouri Ct. of
App., 787 F.2d 427, 429 (8th Cir. 1986). Moreover, a
suit may be brought under § 1983 only against a
“person” who acted under color of state law and a
court is not a “person” within the meaning of
§ 1983. Id. As such, Plaintiff's claims
against the Lincoln County Court must be dismissed.