United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
CAMPBELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
John Carrell, a Utah State Prison inmate, filed a pro
se prisoner civil-rights complaint, see 42
U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2018), proceeding in forma
pauperis. See 28 id. § 1915. His
Complaint is now before the Court for screening. See
Id. § 1915A.
Grounds for Sua Sponte Dismissal
evaluating the propriety of dismissing a complaint for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
this Court takes all well-pleaded factual assertions as true
and regards them in a light most advantageous to the
plaintiff. Ridge at Red Hawk L.L.C. v. Schneider,
493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007). Dismissal is
appropriate when, viewing those facts as true, the plaintiff
has not posed a "plausible" right to relief.
See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007); Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247-48
(10th Cir. 2008). "The burden is on the plaintiff to
frame a 'complaint with enough factual matter (taken as
true) to suggest' that he or she is entitled to
relief." Robbins, 519 F.3d at 1247 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). When a civil rights
complaint contains "bare assertions," involving
"nothing more than a 'formulaic recitation of the
elements' of a constitutional . . . claim," the
Court considers those assertions "conclusory and not
entitled to" an assumption of truth. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1951 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 554-55). In other words,
"the mere metaphysical possibility that some
plaintiff could prove some set of facts in support
of the pleaded claims is insufficient; the complaint must
give the court reason to believe that this plaintiff
has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for
these claims." Red Hawk, 493 F.3d at
1177 (italics in original).
Court must construe these pro se
"'pleadings liberally,' applying a less
stringent standard than is applicable to pleadings filed by
lawyers. Th[e] court, however, will not supply additional
factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint
or construct a legal theory on a plaintiff's
behalf." Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170,
1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). In the Tenth
Circuit, this means that if this Court can reasonably read
the pleadings "to state a valid claim on which the
plaintiff could prevail, it should do so despite the
plaintiff's failure to cite proper legal authority, his
confusion of various legal theories, his poor syntax and
sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity with pleading
requirements." Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1110 (10th Cir. 1991). Still, it is not "the proper
function of the district court to assume the role of advocate
for the pro se litigant." Id.; see also
Peterson v. Shanks, 149 F.3d 1140, 1143 (10th Cir. 1998)
(citing Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th
Cir. 1989) (per curiam)). Dismissing the complaint
"without affording the plaintiff notice or an
opportunity to amend is proper only 'when it is patently
obvious that the plaintiff could not prevail on the facts
alleged, and allowing him an opportunity to amend his
complaint would be futile.'" Curley v.
Perry, 246 F.3d 1278, 1281-82 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110 (additional quotation marks
complaint must clearly state what each individual defendant
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 defendant is
essential allegation). "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)). Plaintiff may not name an individual as a defendant
based solely on supervisory status. See Mitchell v.
Maynard, 80 F.3d 1433, 1441 (10th Cir. 1996) (stating
supervisory status alone is insufficient to support liability
under § 1983). Nor does "denial of a grievance, by
itself without any connection to the violation of
constitutional rights alleged by plaintiff . . . establish
personal participation under § 1983." Gallagher
v. Shelton, No. 09-3113, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 25787, at
*11 (10th Cir. Nov. 24, 2009).
these guidelines, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has done
nothing to affirmatively link Defendant Benzon to his claims,
but has instead identified him merely as a bystander,
supervisor, or denier of grievances--and has not tied any
material facts to him. Plaintiff's claims against this
defendant therefore may not survive screening. And this
defendant is dismissed.
IS ORDERED that
Upon the Court's screening of the Complaint under 29
U.S.C.S. § 1915A (2018), Defendant Benzon is
DISMISSED with prejudice, for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Plaintiffs Motion to Accept and Recognize Legal Power of
Attorney for Plaintiffs Signature is DENIED.
(Doc. No. 6.) Plaintiff asserts a need for this based on
“situations like this where obtaining my personal
signiture [sic] adds a minimum of 10 business days to the
process.” The Court assures Plaintiff that it will not
hold against Plaintiff any ten-business-day delay in
responses required by the Court.
Defendants' Motion to Stay Case is
DENIED. (Doc. No. 24.) The filing fee has
been paid and Complaint screened. ...