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Jones v. Graves-Robertson

United States District Court, D. Utah

June 27, 2019

RONALD JOSEPH JONES JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE SHAUNA GRAVES-ROBERTSON et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER TO CURE DEFICIENT COMPLAINT

          Bruce S. Jenkins, District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Ronald Joseph Jones Jr., 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. 4), 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) does not properly affirmatively link Defendants to specific civil-rights violations.

         (b) names State of Utah as a defendant which violates governmental-immunity principles. (See below.)

         (c) improperly names a judge as a defendant, apparently without considering judicial immunity. (See below.)

         (d) alleges possible constitutional violations resulting in injuries that appear to be prohibited by 42 U.S.C.S. § l997e(e) (2019), which reads, "No Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner ... for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of a physical injury or the commission of a sexual act."

         (e) has claims possibly involving 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)).

         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., 161 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 ...

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