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Evans v. Winder

United States District Court, D. Utah

May 4, 2017

DOUGLAS D. EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
JIM WINDER et al., Defendants.

          ORDER & MEMORANDUM DECISION

          TED STEWART United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, inmate Douglas D. Evans, 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) alleges 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 possibly invalidated by the rule in Heck (see below).
(c) inappropriately alleges civil rights violations on a respondeat-superior theory.
(d) brings civil-rights claims against Benjamin Grindstaff, who is not properly named, as he is not a state actor.
(e) alleges conspiracy claims that are too vague (see below).
(f) by naming “Utah State Prison” 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).
(g) has claims appearing to be based on conditions of current confinement; however, the complaint was apparently not submitted using the legal help Plaintiff is entitled to by his institution under the Constitution. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 356 (1996) (requiring prisoners be given "'adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law' . . . to ensure that inmates . . . have a reasonably adequate opportunity to file nonfrivolous legal claims challenging their convictions or conditions of confinement") (quoting Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 (1977) (emphasis added)).

         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 ...


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