United States District Court, D. North Dakota
Charles S. Miller, Jr., Magistrate Judge.
Travis Andrew Michel, an inmate at the James River
Correctional Center in Jamestown, North Dakota, brings this
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. This
matter is now before the undersigned for initial review as
required by 28U.S.C. § 1915A
initiated this action on June 12, 2018, with the filing of a
complaint dated May 15, 2018. (Doc. No. 7). On August 23,
2018, plaintiff filed another document dated August 17, 2018,
repeating the allegations in the complaint and including
photographs of text messages that plaintiff argues support
his claim. (Doc. No. 9). Since plaintiff is proceeding pro se
and the case has not proceeded further, the court will treat
both filings as plaintiffs complaint.
action, plaintiff attempts to sue Dean Clarkson, a detective
of the Bismarck Police Department. Plaintiff appears to put
forth two allegations against the defendant. First, plaintiff
alleges defendant illegally arrested plaintiff. Second,
plaintiff alleges defendant lied at plaintiffs preliminary
hearing regarding the contents of text messages that possibly
implicated plaintiff in the charged aggravated assault.
Plaintiff appears to argue that the text messages attached to
his August 17th letter were an important factor in his arrest
and at the subsequent preliminary hearing. However, in terms
of the arrest, it is not clear whether it was pursuant to a
warrant and, if it was, who presented the information to
support a finding of probable cause and what evidence was
presented. Further, with respect to the preliminary hearing,
it is not clear what information was presented to support the
finding of probable cause at that level. Finally, there is no
allegation that the charge upon which the arrest was made has
seeks money damages against defendant in the amount of $5,
000, 000. The complaint is silent in terms of whether
plaintiff is suing the defendant in his individual capacity,
his official capacity, or both.
STANDARDS GOVERNING INITIAL REVIEW
Prison Litigation Reform Act requires federal courts to
review all prisoner complaints filed against a government
entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. On
review, the courts must screen prisoner complaints and
sua sponte dismiss those that are frivolous or
malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or are against a
defendant who is immune. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2);
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 203-04 (2007);
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 84 (2006).
is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). Frivolous claims are those that are clearly
baseless, fanciful, fantastic, or delusional. An action fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it does
not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp v.
Iwomblx, 550 U.S. 544(2007) ''stage that success
on the merits is more than a'sheer possibility.''
Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594
(8th Cir. 2009). To meet 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." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
screening a pro se prisoner complaint, the court is
obligated to construe it 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); Solomon v.
Petray, 795 F.3d 777. 787 (8th Cir. 2015) ("When we
say that a pro se complaint should be given liberal
construction, we mean that if the essence of an allegation is
discernible... then the district court should construe the
complaint in a way that permits the layperson's claim to
be considered within the proper legal framework.")
(internal quotation marks omitted). But, this does not mean
that the court must accept everything or anything that is
filed by a prisoner proceeding pro se.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
normally allege a violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or the laws of the United States and that the
alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under
color of state law. Walker v. Reed, 104 F.3d 156,
157 (8th Cir. 1997); West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). Even under liberal pleading standards, a. pro
se litigant must, at the very least, invoke rights under
the Constitution or federal law in order to plead a §
1983 claim. Walker, 104 F.3d at 157-58. A complaint
states a plausible claim for relief when its "factual
content... allows the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iabal, 556U.S. At 678. The pleading
must allege a sufficient causal link between the alleged
violation and the basis upon which the particular defendant
is to be held responsible, keeping in mind that persons sued
in their individual capacities must be personally involved or
directly responsible since § 1983 does not impose
respondeat superior liability. Iqbal,
556U.S. at 676-77. Gordon v. Hansen. l68F.3d 1109,
1113 (8th Cir. 1999).
the court is not required to ignore facts that are pled by a
prisoner when they undermine the prisoner's claim. The
court may accept as true all facts pled in the complaint and
conclude from them that there is no claim as a matter of law.
Kg., Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof 1
Regulation. 300 F.3d 750, 753-54 (7th Cir. 2002).
The named defendant is send only in his official capacity and
plaintiff fails to state a claim of ...