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Stewart v. Utah Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Utah

May 31, 2019

CALVIN PAUL STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
UTAH DEP'T OF CORRS., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER TO CURE DEFICIENT COMPLAINT

          CLARK WADDOUPS JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         District Judge Clark Waddoups Plaintiff, inmate Calvin Paul Stewart, brings this pro se civil-rights action, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2019), [1] in forma pauperis, see 28 Id. § 1915. Having now screened the Complaint, (Doc. No. 5), under its statutory review function, [2] the Court orders Plaintiff to file an amended complaint to cure deficiencies before further pursuing claims.

         COMPLAINT'S DEFICIENCIES

         Complaint:

(a) improperly names Utah Department of Corrections as § 1983 defendant, though it is not an independent legal entity that can sue or be sued.
(b) appears to inappropriately allege civil-rights violations on respondeat-superior theory.
(c) needs clarification regarding the Eighth Amendment cause of action of cruel and unusual punishment (see below).
(d) needs clarification regarding what constitutes a cause of action under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) (see below).
(e) names a State of Utah entity as a defendant which violates governmental-immunity principles (see below).
(f) has claims apparently regarding current confinement; however, complaint apparently not drafted with contract attorneys' help.

         GUIDANCE FOR 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 these general points before filing an amended complaint:

         (1) 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). The amended complaint may also not be added to after it is filed without moving for amendment.[3]

         (2) 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, 338 Fed.Appx. 757, (10th Cir. 2009) (unpublished) (emphasis in original) (quoting Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1250 (10th Cir. ...


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