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Taylor v. Russell

United States District Court, D. Utah

November 18, 2016

ROY D. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON RUSSELL et al., Defendants.

          ORDER & MEMORANDUM DECISION

          JUDGE CLARK WADDOUPS United States District Court

         Plaintiff, inmate Roy D. Taylor, filed this pro se civil rights suit, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2016), in forma pauperis, see 28 Id. § 1915. The Court now screens his Complaint and orders Plaintiff to file an amended complaint to cure deficiencies before further pursuing his claims.

         A. Deficiencies in Complaint

         Complaint:

         (a) may allege claims that concern the constitutionality of his conviction and/or validity of his imprisonment, which should be brought in a habeas-corpus petition, not a civil-rights complaint.

         (b) alleges claims that are potentially invalidated by the rule in Heck (see below).

         (c) possibly attempts to state claims of inadequate medical treatment by Utah State Prison personnel; however provides neither necessary factual details nor links any such possible claims to specific defendants.

         (d) appears not to have been prepared with help from the prison's contract attorneys.

         B. Instructions to Plaintiff

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint to contain "(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . .; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought." Rule 8's requirements mean to guarantee "that defendants enjoy fair notice of what the claims against them are and the grounds upon which they rest." TV Commc'ns Network, Inc. v ESPN, Inc., 767 F.Supp. 1062, 1069 (D. Colo. 1991).

         Pro se litigants are not excused from complying with these minimal pleading demands. "This is so because a pro se plaintiff requires no special legal training to recount the facts surrounding his alleged injury, and he must provide such facts if the court is to determine whether he makes out a claim on which relief can be granted." Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). Moreover, it is improper for the Court "to assume the role of advocate for a pro se litigant." Id. Thus, the Court cannot "supply additional facts, [or] construct a legal theory for plaintiff that assumes facts that have not been pleaded." Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th Cir. 1989).

         Plaintiff should consider the following points before refiling his complaint. First, the revised complaint must stand entirely on its own and shall not refer to, or incorporate by reference, any portion of the original complaint. See Murray v. Archambo, 132 F.3d 609, 612 (10th Cir. 1998) (stating amended complaint supersedes original).

         Second, the complaint must clearly state what each defendant--typically, a named government employee--did to violate Plaintiff's civil rights. See Bennett v. Passic, 545 F.2d 1260, 1262-63 (10th Cir. 1976) (stating personal participation of each named defendant is essential allegation in civil-rights action). "To state a claim, a complaint must 'make clear exactly who is alleged to have done what to whom.'" Stone v. Albert, No. 08-2222, slip op. At 4 (10th Cir. July 20, 2009) (unpublished) (emphasis in original) (quoting Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1250 (10th Cir. 2008)).

         Third, Plaintiff cannot name an individual as a defendant based solely on his or her supervisory position. See Mitchell v. Maynard, 80 F.2d 1433, 1441 (10th Cir. 1996) (stating ...


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