Greathouse v. Cibola County Corrections Center et al
ORDER PERMITTING AMENDMENT by District Judge Kea W. Riggs. Within thirty (30) days of entry of this Order, Plaintiff shall file a single, amended complaint as set forth in this Order. If Plaintiff declines to timely file anamended complaint or files an amendment that fails to comply with the instructions in this Order, the Court will dismiss this case with prejudice. (ve)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
LUIS ROSA, et al,
ORDER PERMITTING AMENDMENT
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff David Greathouse’s pro se Prisoner Civil
Rights Complaint (Doc. 1) (Complaint). Plaintiff is a federal detainee while awaiting trial at the
Cibola County Corrections Center (CCCC). The Complaint consists of 106 pages and contains
conclusory allegations about numerous aspects of prison life. Plaintiff complains prison officials
imposed unnecessary lockdowns; denied his right to access courts; denied his right to telephone
privileges; retaliated after Plaintiff filed grievances; mishandled the COVID-19 outbreak; lied
about having access to “state of the art” safety equipment; and generally exposed detainees to
harm. See Doc. 1 at 1-7. Plaintiff further alleges the foundation of CCCC is structurally unsound
and that the walls of CCCC are deteriorating. Id. The Complaint names various wardens,
captains, and prison supervisors. Id. at 1. Plaintiff filed two supplemental pleadings after
submitting the Complaint, which contain similar allegations along with exhibits about COVID-19.
See Docs. 5, 8.
The Complaint, as supplemented, functions as a quintessential “kitchen-sink” pleading,
“bring[ing] every conceivable claim against every conceivable defendant.” D.J. Young Pub. Co.,
LLC ex rel. Young v. Unified Gov’t of Wyandotte, 2012 WL 4211669, at *3 (D. Kan. Sept. 18,
2012) (unpublished); see also Glenn v. First Nat. Bank in Grand Junction, 868 F.2d 368, 371 (10th
Cir. 1989) (“The law recognizes a significant difference between notice pleading and ‘shotgun’
pleading.”). Shotgun pleadings are “pernicious” because they “unfairly burden defendants and
courts” by shifting onto them “the burden of identifying plaintiff’s genuine claims and determining
which of those claims might have legal support.” D.J. Young, 2012 WL 4211669, at *3; see also
Pola v. Utah, 458 Fed. App’x. 760, 762 (10th Cir. 2012) (affirming the dismissal of a complaint
that was “incoherent, rambling, and include[d] everything but the kitchen sink”); McNamara v.
Brauchler, 570 Fed. App’x 741, 743 (10th Cir. 2014) (allowing shotgun pleadings to survive
screening “would force the Defendants to carefully comb through [the documents] to ascertain
which … pertinent allegations to which a response is warranted”).
Accordingly, the Court will permit Plaintiff to file a single amended pleading within thirty
(30) days of entry of this Order. The amendment must comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) and
contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for relief. Plaintiff should “explain what each
defendant did to him ...; when the defendant did it; how the defendant’s action harmed him ...; 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). If Plaintiff wishes to raise a claim based
on his right to access courts - which appears to be his main concern - he must demonstrate he
cannot file initial petitions such as habeas challenges or civil rights complaints. Lewis v. Casey,
518 U.S. 343, 350 (1996). See also Carper v. DeLand, 54 F.3d 613, 617 (10th Cir. 1995) (The
constitution does not require jails “to supply legal assistance beyond the preparation of initial
pleadings” or litigate effectively once in court). The amendment must also include specific
allegations showing the access issues “prejudiced him in pursuing litigation.” Treff v. Galetka,
74 F.3d 191, 194 (10th Cir. 1996). To the extent Plaintiff wishes to research matters pertaining
to his criminal case, the inadequate library access is likely not actionable. Plaintiff has an attorney
in the pending criminal matter, and the “provision of legal counsel is a constitutionally acceptable
alternative to a prisoner’s demand to access a law library.” United States v. Cooper, 375 F.3d
1041, 1051-52 (10th Cir. 2004).
If Plaintiff wishes to challenge his conditions of confinement at CCCC, the amendment
must show the conditions are objectively serious and threaten his safety or “lead to deprivations
of essential food, medical care, … [or] sanitation.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348
(1981). Each Defendant must also “have a sufficiently culpable state of mind,” meaning he or
she consciously disregarded a known risk of harm. Craig v. Eberly, 164 F.3d 490, 495 (10th Cir.
1998). The amendment should finally clarify what relief, if any, Plaintiff seeks. The original
Complaint seeks a “judicial examination” of conditions at CCCC and a release of all high-risk
detainees. See Doc. 1 at 5. An examination, without more, is an incomplete remedy, and
Plaintiff cannot seek a release on behalf of other inmates. See Amaro v. Att’y Gen. for New
Mexico, 781 Fed. App’x 693, 695 (10th Cir. 2019) (affirming dismissal of class action habeas
claims and noting that pro se parties cannot seek a release of other inmates). As the Tenth Circuit
explains, the “competence of a layman is clearly too limited to allow him to risk the rights of
others.” Fymbo v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 213 F.3d 1320, 1321 (10th Cir. 2000) (quoting
Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975)). If Plaintiff declines to timely file an
amended complaint or files an amendment that fails to comply with the instructions in this Order,
the Court will dismiss this case with prejudice.
IT IS ORDERED that within thirty (30) days of entry of this Order, Plaintiff shall file a
single, amended pleading as specified above.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
KEA W. RIGGS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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