United States District Court, D. North Dakota
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Charles S. Miller, Jr., Magistrate Judge United States
plaintiff, Bowe Bently Getzlaff (“Getzlaff”), is
an inmate at the James River Correctional Center
(“JRCC”). He initiated the above-entitled civil
rights action pro se in late October 2016, with the
submission of an application to proceed in forma
pauperis, which the court granted in an order dated
November 11, 2016, and a complaint. On November 18, 2016,
Getzlaff filed notice of his consent to the undersigned's
exercise of jurisdiction. This matter is now before the
undersigned for an initial screening as mandated by 42 U.S.C.
My #31 moler tooth was broken beyond repare, and subsequently
cut out by a dentist due to a piece of metal I bit into
located inside an oatmeal creme pie. The creme pie was
purchased by me and distributed by TW Vending.
* * *
I am seeking relief of $500, 000 due to ongoing fear and
anxiety concerns. I have great trouble eating after broken
(Docket No. 7) (errors in original).
Getzlaff neglects to mention when or where he purchased the
oatmeal creme pie in question. Given that he has named Ward
County as a defendant, the court shall assume for the
purposes of its initial review that he purchased the oatmeal
creme pie from the commissary while in custody at the Ward
STANDARD GOVERNING INITIAL REVIEW
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PLRA”)
requires an initial court screening of all civil actions
brought by prisoners that relate to prison conditions or that
seek redress from a governmental entity, officer, or
employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The screening is
required even when the prisoner has paid the filing fee.
Lewis v. Estes, Case No. 00-1304, 242 F.3d 375
(table); 2000 WL 1673382, at *1 (8th Cir. Nov. 8, 2000)
(unpublished per curiam). The purpose of the
screening requirement is to weed out claims that clearly lack
merit with the hope that this will help to lessen the burdens
imposed by the ever-rising numbers of prisoner suits, which
too often are frivolous and without merit. Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 202-03 (2007); Woodford v.
Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-84 (2006). In conducting the
screening, the court must dismiss a complaint or portion
thereof if its claims are legally frivolous or malicious,
fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e
42 U.S.C. § 1983 nor the PLRA imposes any heightened
pleading requirements. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. at
211-12. Consequently, in order to state a cognizable claim,
the complaint need only meet the minimum requirements of
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), which are that it contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam).
court is obligated to construe a pro se complaint
liberally and hold it to a less stringent standard than what
normally would be required of attorneys. Id.;
see also Federal Express Corp. v. Holowecki, 552
U.S. 389, 402 (2008). This does not mean that the court must
accept everything or anything that is filed by pro
se prisoners, however. In enacting the screening
requirement, Congress obviously expected it to be more than
an a ritualistic exercise and that courts would only allow to
go forward those claims that are cognizable, that seek relief
from a non-immune party, and that are not obviously frivolous
the minimal pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) for stating
a cognizable claim, something more is required than simply
expressing a desire for relief and declaring an entitlement
to it. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556 n.3 (2007). The complaint must state enough to
“‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Bell
Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555). And, even though the
complaint is to be liberally construed, it must also contain
enough to satisfy Bell Atlantic's
“plausibility standard.” E.g.,
Ventura-Vera v. Dewitt, 417 F. App'x 591, 592,
2011 WL 2184269, *1 (8th Cir. 2011) (unpublished per curiam)
(citing Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir.
2007) for the appropriate post-Bell Atlantic
standard); see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912,
914 (8th Cir. 2004) (pro se complaints must allege
sufficient facts to state a claim). ...