United States District Court, D. Utah
JOSHUA A. YOUNGER, Plaintiff,
DAVIS COUNTY JAIL et al., Defendants.
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING ORDER TO CURE DEFICIENT
COMPLAINT & MEMORANDUM DECISION
January 3, 2019, the Court screened the Complaint and ordered
Plaintiff to file an amended complaint to cure deficiencies
before further pursuing claims. Instead of complying,
Plaintiff sent the Court a nonresponsive letter appearing to
either expound upon his claims or suggest new claims. The
Court therefore orders Plaintiff to show cause why this
action should not be dismissed.
Plaintiff wish to now comply with the Court's earlier
order, the Court repeats its observations and guidance.
Deficiencies in Complaint
improperly names Davis County Jail as a defendant, though it
is not an independent legal entity that can sue or be sued.
possibly inappropriately allege civil-rights violations on a
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)).
Instructions to Plaintiff
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).
litigants are not excused from meeting 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).
should consider the following points in amending the
complaint. First, the revised complaint must stand entirely
on its own and may not refer to, or incorporate by reference,
any part of the original complaint or other documents filed
(e.g., Plaintiff's letter of January 25, 2019). See
Murray v. Archambo, 132 F.3d 609, 612 (10th Cir. 1998)
(stating amended complaint supersedes original).
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
each defendant's personal participation 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)).
Plaintiff may not 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