Carter v. Hutchinson Police Department et al

Filing 4

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ENTERED: Plaintiff is granted until February 10, 2022, in which to show good cause, in writing, to the Honorable Sam A. Crow, United States District Judge, why Plaintiff's Complaint should not be di smissed. Plaintiff is also granted until February 10, 2022, in which to file a complete and proper amended complaint to cure all the deficiencies. Signed by U.S. Senior District Judge Sam A. Crow on 01/10/22. Mailed to pro se party Robert Wayne Carter by regular mail. (smnd)

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Case 5:22-cv-03004-SAC Document 4 Filed 01/10/22 Page 1 of 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS ROBERT WAYNE CARTER, Plaintiff, v. CASE NO. 22-3004-SAC HUTCHINSON POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Plaintiff Robert Wayne Carter is hereby required to show good cause, in writing, to the Honorable Sam A. Crow, United States District Judge, why this action should not be dismissed due to the deficiencies in Plaintiff’s Complaint that are discussed herein. Plaintiff is also given an opportunity to file a proper amended complaint to cure the deficiencies. I. Nature of the Matter before the Court Plaintiff brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is in custody at the Reno County Correctional Facility in Hutchinson, Kansas (“RCCF”). The Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff alleges that “several officers” injured him during his arrest. Plaintiff alleges that he was brutally beaten, drug down the street, and hogtied. Plaintiff claims that he suffered a broken wrist and obtained scars on his ankles and on his wrists due to the handcuffs digging to his bone. Plaintiff alleges that while at the RCCF a booking official placed him in a restraint chair while he was having a seizure. Plaintiff alleges cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff names as defendants: the Hutchinson Police Department; the RCCF; and the Repeat 1 Case 5:22-cv-03004-SAC Document 4 Filed 01/10/22 Page 2 of 6 Offender Program at the Hutchinson Police Department. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and to have his medical expenses paid. II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)–(2). “To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (citations omitted); Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1523 (10th Cir. 1992). A court liberally construes a pro se complaint and applies “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In addition, the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true. Anderson v. Blake, 469 F.3d 910, 913 (10th Cir. 2006). On the other hand, “when the allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief,” dismissal is appropriate. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). A pro se litigant’s “conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). “[A] plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitlement to relief’ requires “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a 2 Case 5:22-cv-03004-SAC Document 4 Filed 01/10/22 Page 3 of 6 cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The complaint’s “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 555, 570. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained “that, to state a claim in federal court, a complaint must explain what each defendant did to [the pro se plaintiff]; when the defendant did it; how the defendant’s action harmed [the plaintiff]; and, what specific legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant violated.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007). The court “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) (citation omitted). The Tenth Circuit has pointed out that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Twombly and Erickson gave rise to a new standard of review for § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) dismissals. See Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1218 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); see also Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009). As a result, courts “look to the specific allegations in the complaint to determine whether they plausibly support a legal claim for relief.” Kay, 500 F.3d at 1218 (citation omitted). Under this new standard, “a plaintiff must ‘nudge his claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.’” Smith, 561 F.3d at 1098 (citation omitted). “Plausible” in this context does not mean “likely to be true,” but rather refers “to the scope of the allegations in a complaint: if they are so general that they encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent,” then the plaintiff has not “nudged [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Twombly, 127 S. Ct. at 1974). 3 Case 5:22-cv-03004-SAC Document 4 Filed 01/10/22 Page 4 of 6 III. DISCUSSION Plaintiff names the Hutchinson Police Department, the RCCF and the Repeat Offender Program as Defendants. Plaintiff’s claims against these Defendants are subject to dismissal. “To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (emphasis added). Prison and jail facilities are not proper defendants because none is a “person” subject to suit for money damages under § 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66, 71 (1989); Clark v. Anderson, No. 09-3141-SAC, 2009 WL 2355501, at *1 (D. Kan. July 29, 2009); see also Aston v. Cunningham, No. 99–4156, 2000 WL 796086 at *4 n.3 (10th Cir. Jun. 21, 2000) (“a detention facility is not a person or legally created entity capable of being sued”); Busekros v. Iscon, No. 95-3277-GTV, 1995 WL 462241, at *1 (D. Kan. July 18, 1995) (“[T]he Reno County Jail must be dismissed, as a jail is not a ‘person’ within the meaning of § 1983.”). Likewise, the Hutchison Police Department and a program at the department are not proper defendants. These defendants are subject to dismissal, as “‘police departments . . . are not suable entities under § 1983, because they lack legal identities apart from the municipality.’” Young v. City of Albuquerque, 77 F. Supp. 3d 1154, 1186 (D. N.M. 2014) (quoting Ketchum v. Albuquerque Police Dep’t, 958 F.2d 381, 1992 WL 51481, at *2 (10th Cir. March 12, 1992)). Although Plaintiff claims that several officers and a booking agent caused his injuries, he fails to name any individuals as defendants. Plaintiff has failed to allege how any defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his constitutional rights. An essential element of a 4 Case 5:22-cv-03004-SAC Document 4 Filed 01/10/22 Page 5 of 6 civil rights claim against an individual is that person’s direct personal participation in the acts or inactions upon which the complaint is based. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165–66 (1985); Henry v. Storey, 658 F.3d 1235, 1241 (10th Cir. 2011) (“But § 1983 imposes liability for a defendant’s own actions—personal participation in the specific constitutional violation complained of is essential.”) (citing Foote v. Spiegel, 118 F.3d 1416, 1423–24 (10th Cir. 1997) (“Individual liability under § 1983 must be based on personal involvement in the alleged constitutional violation.”) (citation omitted)); Trujillo v. Williams, 465 F.3d 1210, 1228 (10th Cir. 2006) (“In order for liability to arise under § 1983, a defendant’s direct personal responsibility for the claimed deprivation . . . must be established.”) (emphasis added) (citation omitted)). Conclusory allegations of involvement are not sufficient. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009) (“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to . . . § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official’s own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.”). As a result, a plaintiff is required to name each defendant not only in the caption of the complaint, but again in the body of the complaint and to include in the body a description of the acts taken by each defendant that violated plaintiff’s federal constitutional rights. The Court will grant Plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint to name the proper defendants. IV. Response and/or Amended Complaint Required Plaintiff is required to show good cause why his Complaint should not be dismissed for the reasons stated herein. Plaintiff is also given the opportunity to file a complete and proper amended complaint upon court-approved forms that cures all the deficiencies discussed herein.1 1 To add claims, significant factual allegations, or change defendants, a plaintiff must submit a complete amended complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15. An amended complaint is not simply an addendum to the original complaint, and instead completely supersedes it. Therefore, any claims or allegations not included in the amended complaint are no longer before the court. It follows that a plaintiff may not simply refer to an earlier pleading, and the amended 5 Case 5:22-cv-03004-SAC Document 4 Filed 01/10/22 Page 6 of 6 Plaintiff is given time to file a complete and proper amended complaint in which he (1) raises only properly joined claims and defendants; (2) alleges sufficient facts to state a claim for a federal constitutional violation and show a cause of action in federal court; and (3) alleges sufficient facts to show personal participation by each named defendant. If Plaintiff does not file an amended complaint within the prescribed time that cures all the deficiencies discussed herein, this matter will be decided based upon the current deficient Complaint and may be dismissed without further notice for failure to state a claim. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT Plaintiff is granted until February 10, 2022, in which to show good cause, in writing, to the Honorable Sam A. Crow, United States District Judge, why Plaintiff’s Complaint should not be dismissed for the reasons stated herein. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff is also granted until February 10, 2022, in which to file a complete and proper amended complaint to cure all the deficiencies discussed herein. The clerk is directed to send § 1983 forms and instructions to Plaintiff. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated January 10, 2022, in Topeka, Kansas. s/ Sam A. Crow Sam A. Crow U.S. Senior District Judge complaint must contain all allegations and claims that a plaintiff intends to pursue in the action, including those to be retained from the original complaint. Plaintiff must write the number of this case (22-3004-SAC) at the top of the first page of his amended complaint and he must name every defendant in the caption of the amended complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a). Plaintiff should also refer to each defendant again in the body of the amended complaint, where he must allege facts describing the unconstitutional acts taken by each defendant including dates, locations, and circumstances. Plaintiff must allege sufficient additional facts to show a federal constitutional violation. 6

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