Wilson v. Arkansas Department of Correction
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER dismissing plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 7/25/11. (hph)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JAMES EARL WILSON,
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF
* No. 3:11CV00120 SWW
Memorandum Opinion and Order
Plaintiff filed his Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Arkansas Department of
Correction (“ADC”). He claims the ADC violated his constitutional rights by committing an
error on the prison fingerprint card which caused a rape charge to be entered into the Arkansas
Crime Information Center. Along with his complaint, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
There is a two-step process to be followed by the district court in considering whether a
pro se plaintiff should be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. Martin-Trigona v. Stewart,
691 F.2d 856 (8th Cir.1982). First there is a determination of whether the plaintiff qualifies by
economic status under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). If he does, the complaint is permitted to be filed. Id.
Second, assuming the allegation of poverty is not untrue, a determination is made under §
1915(e)(2)(B) of whether the cause of action stated in the complaint is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. If so, the complaint is to be dismissed. Id. Because
it appears that plaintiff's economic situation qualifies him for in forma pauperis status, the Court
hereby grants plaintiff's application to so proceed [docket entry 1].
The Court now turns to the determination of whether, pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B), this
action should be dismissed because it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. A claim is frivolous if it “describ[es] fantastic or delusional scenarios,” the factual
contentions are “clearly baseless,” or there is no rational basis in law. Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 327-29 (1989). A court may dismiss such a complaint before service of process and
without leave to amend. Christiansen v. Clarke, 147 F.3d 655, 658 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 525
U.S. 1023 (1998). See also Higgins v. Carpenter, 258 F.3d 797, 800 (8th Cir.2001).
Acknowledging that sua sponte dismissals are expressly disfavored, Nash v. Black, 781
F.2d 665 (8th Cir.1986), the Court, nevertheless, is satisfied that this complaint should be
dismissed. Plaintiff names the ADC as the defendant. The ADC is not a proper defendant
because it is not considered a “person” that can be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Brown v.
Missouri Dep’t. of Corrections, 353 F.3d 1038, 1041 (8th Cir. 2004)(per curiam). Further,
plaintiff fails to allege facts that rise to the level of a violation of the United States Constitution.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed for failure to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted.
DATED this 25th day of July, 2011.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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