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Shook v. State

United States District Court, D. Utah

May 15, 2017

JASON SHOOK, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF UTAH et al., Defendants.

          ORDER & MEMORANDUM DECISION

          DAVID SAM UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         District Judge David Sam Plaintiff, inmate Jason Shook, 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) improperly names "State of Utah" as a defendant, though there is no showing that it has waived its governmental immunity (see below).
(b) does not affirmatively link some defendants to civil-rights violations.
(c) possibly states crimes by Defendants must be redressed; however, a federal civil-rights is not the proper place to address criminal behavior.
(d) contains claims based on state law-e.g., negligence-though there are no valid federal claims in the Complaint providing grounds for pendent jurisdiction.
(e) 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." TVCommc'ns Network, Inc. vESPN, 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 Plaintiffs 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. ...


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