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Maughan v. Burnham

United States District Court, D. Utah

May 3, 2017

RYAN DARLEY MAUGHAN, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. BRUCE O. BURNHAM et al., Defendants.

          ORDER & MEMORANDUM DECISION

          DEE BENSON JUDGE United States District Court

         Plaintiff, inmate Ryan Darley Maughan, filed this pro se civil rights suit, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2017), 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) by naming “Utah Department of Corrections” as a defendant, effectively improperly names "State of Utah" as a defendant, though there is no showing that it has waived its governmental immunity (see below).
(b) appears to involve claims that are past the statute of limitations for a civil-rights case (see below).
(c) is perhaps supplemented with claims from a letter filed on May 1, 2017, which claims should be included in an amended complaint, if filed, and will not be treated further by the Court unless properly included.
(d) has claims apparently regarding current confinement; however, the complaint was apparently not drafted with the help of 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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