United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Devin Anderson, filed this case on February 25, 2019, and he
has since been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
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)(2). For the
reasons stated below, the court determines that action should
be dismissed without prejudice.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
as the court can determine, Plaintiff has been civilly
committed to the Norfolk Regional Center in Norfolk,
Nebraska, as a dangerous sex offender. Plaintiff alleges he
was falsely accused of sexual assault in 2014. Plaintiff
proclaims his innocence and alleges Defendants conspired to
violate his constitutional rights when a mental health board
committed him to the regional center. Plaintiff does not
request any specific relief.
STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
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. §
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).
construing Plaintiff's Complaint, he is seeking
unspecified relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by claiming that
his commitment to the Norfolk Regional Center is invalid.
Under applicable law, however, such a claim can only be
pursued in federal court through a habeas corpus proceeding,
and Plaintiff must first exhaust his state court remedies.
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), involving a
§ 1983 action brought by a state prisoner seeking
damages from prosecutors and a police investigator whose
actions allegedly caused him to be unlawfully convicted, the
Supreme Court stated:
This case lies at the intersection of the two most fertile
sources of federal-court prisoner litigation-the Civil Rights
Act of 1871, Rev.Stat. § 1979, as amended, 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, and the federal habeas corpus statute, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Both of these provide access to a federal forum
for claims of unconstitutional treatment at the hands of
state officials, but they differ in their scope and
operation. In general, exhaustion of state remedies “is
not a prerequisite to an action under § 1983,
” Patsy v. Board of Regents of Fla., 457 U.S.
496, 501, 102 S.Ct. 2557, 2560, 73 L.Ed.2d 172 (1982)
(emphasis added), even an action by a state prisoner,
id., at 509, 102 S.Ct., at 2564. The federal habeas
corpus statute, by contrast, requires that state prisoners
first seek redress in a state forum. See Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 102 S.Ct. 1198, 71 L.Ed.2d 379
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 93 S.Ct. 1827,
36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973), considered the potential overlap
between these two provisions, and held that habeas corpus is
the exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the
fact or duration of his confinement and seeks immediate or
speedier release, even though such a claim may come within
the literal terms of § 1983. Id., at 488-490,
93 S.Ct., at 1835-1837. We emphasize that Preiser
did not create an exception to the “no
exhaustion” rule of § 1983; it merely held that
certain claims by state prisoners are not cognizable
under that provision, and must be brought in habeas corpus
proceedings, which do contain an exhaustion requirement.
Id. at 480-81 (footnote omitted; emphasis in
original). The Court held that “in order to recover
damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a
§ 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254.” Id. at
486-87 (footnote omitted).
Heck and Preiser involved criminal
convictions, the Court's reasoning in those cases applies
equally to civil commitments. As explained by the United
States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in affirming
the dismissal of a § 1983 action brought by a civil
detainee seeking damages and declaratory ...