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Donaldson v. Stoker

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

March 16, 2017

COREY ALLAN DONALDSON, Plaintiff,
v.
SARGENT SHAWN STOKER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER TO AMEND COMPLAINT

          CLARK WADDOUPS United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, inmate Corey Allan Donaldson, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed this pro se civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (See Dkt. Nos. 3, 4.) Mr. Donaldson alleges Defendant Sgt. Shawn Stoker violated his civil rights by falsifying evidence related to an auto theft that resulted in a false charge, false imprisonment, and kidnapping when Mr. Donaldson was transferred for a period of time from his imprisonment in Georgia to Davis County, Utah. (See Dkt. No. 4, pp. 4–7.)

         The in forma pauperis statute requires a court to dismiss a case at any time if the court determines that the case

(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         The Court now screens Mr. Donaldson’s Complaint and ORDERS him to file an amended complaint to cure deficiencies before further pursuing his claims.

         I. Deficiencies in Complaint

         Mr. Donaldson’s Complaint alleges a state official violated his civil rights without including allegations that would overcome the official’s qualified immunity (see below).

         II. 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 are meant to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

         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).

         Mr. Donaldson 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 the defendant did to violate his 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). The complaint must “make clear exactly who is alleged to ...


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