Clervrain et al v. Krebs et al
ORDER granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; AND 1915 SCREENING FOR DISMISSAL and denying as moot 3 Motion; denying as moot 4 Motion ; denying as moot 5 Motion ; denying as moot 6 Motion ; denying as moot 7 Moti on ; denying as moot 8 Motion to Extend ; denying as moot 9 Motion to Intervene; denying as moot 10 Motion ; denying as moot 11 Motion ; and granting 13 Motion to Electronically File Documents in CM/ECF. The Clerks office shall give the pro se litigant access to electronically file documents in the CM/ECF system. The ability of the defendant to e-file documents may be revoked anytime the Court deems it justified. Signed by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange on 5/9/2022.
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
SHANTEL KREBS,FORMER SECRETARY
OF STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA,IN HER
INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES;
KRISTINOEM, GOVERNOR OF THE
STATES OF SOUTH DAKOTA,IN HER
INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES;
GENERAL OF THE STATE OF SOUTH
DAKOTA,IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND
OFFICIAL CAPACITIES; STEVE BARNETT,
SECRETARY OF STATE OF SOUTH
DAKOTA,IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND
OFFICIAL CAPACITIES; RANDY SEILER;
NIKKI GRONLI; MARCIA BUNGER;LARRY
OLSEN;LORRI MAY;DEB KNECHT;
DENNIS OLSON; CECELIA FIRE
THUNDER;TROY HEINERT; JAMIE SMITH;
ADDISON MILLER; AARON VLASMAN;
DANIEL BETHKE; JENNIFER KEINTZ;
ERIN HEALY;REYNOLD F. NESIBA;
LINDA DUBA;RYAN CWACH;SHAWN
BORDEAUX;RED DAWN FOSTER;PERI
POURIER; OREN L. LESMEISTER; GENE
WILLIAMS; TIM AZURE;ROGER LEE;
MASON SULLIVAN; BRAD SCHNECK;
CHAD SKILES; DEB SMITH; SUSAN
WISMER;DIANNA SHAFER; RYAN
RYDER; GEORGE ENGLAND; MARY
KILLER; LILIAS JARDING; STEVEN
MCCLEEREY; JOHN SCHMIDT; MARION
SORLIEN; ANN TORNBERG;DEREK
STEWART; JAY WILLIAMS; ALLI MORAN,
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN
FORMA PAUPERIS AND 1915
SCREENING FOR DISMISSAL
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Plaintiffs Manetirony Clervrain and Nina Guerrier filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under
28 § U.S.C. § 1331; Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents. 403 U.S. 388(1971), and
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Doc. 1. Clervrain moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and has filed a
financial affidavit. Doc. 2; Doc. 3 at 18-22. Clervrain has also filed several miscellaneous
motions. Docs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13. This Court now screens Clervrain's complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
A federal court may authorize the commencement of any lawsuit without prepayment of
fees when an applicant submits an affidavit stating he or she is unable to pay the costs ofthe
lawsuit. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). "[I]n forma pauperis status does not require a litigant to
demonstrate absolute destitution." Lee v. McDonald's Com.. 231 F.3d 456,459(8th Cir. 2000).
But in forma pauperis status is a privilege, not a right. Williams v. McKen/ie. 834 F.2d 152, 154
(8th Cir. 1987). Determining whether an applicant is sufficiently impoverished to qualify to
proceed in forma pauperis under § 1915 is committed to the sound discretion ofthe district court.
Cross V. Gen. Motors Corp.. 721 F.2d 1152,1157(8th Cir. 1983). After review of Clervrain's
financial affidavit, the Court finds that he has insufficient funds to pay the filing fee. Thus,
Clervrain's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.
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Factual Allegations of Plaintiffs' Complaint
Clervrain alleges that defendants "violated his first amendment Rights conceming in their
official capacities[.]" Doc. 1 at 6. He alleges "[t]hat public funding will lead to better Education
or to promote parenting Role against culture schoking [sic] by the defedants [sic], or their
executive, internal affairs of political parties, and thus to a significant loss of political freedom."
Id. Clervrain claims that "[t]he concern is necessarily wholly speculative" and states that "all of
the agencies must release their administrative records." Id He accuses defendants of"aiding and
abetting genocide, and for conspiracy to violated access to the courts and federal official while in
the custody, all violations ofinternational law." Id Clervrain also references political issues in
Haiti in his complaint and makes several statements oflaw that are difficult to follow.
4-7. He brings claims against Shantel Krebs, Kristi Noem, Jason Ravnsborg, and Steve Barnett in
their individual and official capacities and against the remaining defendants in their official
capacities only.^ See id. at 2-3. He asks this Court for $60 billion in damages for alleged injuries,
for an additional $35 billion "for the development ofthe ['brandako, Inc']," and for $100 million
against each individual defendant. Id. at 7.
A court when screening under § 1915A must assume as true all facts well pleaded in the
complaint. Estate of Rosenberg v. Crandell. 56 F.3d 35, 36(8th Cir. 1995). Pro se and civil rights
complaints must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus. 551 U.S. 89, 94(2007); Bediako v.
^ If a plaintiff does not specific the capacity in which he or she sues a defendant, the suit is
treated as only including official capacity complaints. Egerdahl v. Hibbing Cmtv. Coll.. 72 F.3d
615,619(8th Cir. 1995); Nix v. Norman. 879 F.2d 429,431 (8th Cir. 1989). Clervrain only
specifies the capacity in which he sues Krebs, Noem,Ravnsborg, and Barnett. See id. at 2-3.
Thus, he sues the remaining defendants in their official capacities.
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Stein Mart. Inc.. 354 F.Sd 835,839(8th Cir. 2004). Even with this construction,"a pro sc
complaint must contain specific facts supporting its conclusions." Martin v. Sargent. 780 F.2d
1334,1337(8th Cir. 1985); see also Ellis v. City of Miimcapolis. 518 F. App'x 502, 504(8th
Cir. 2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory. Davis v. Hall. 992 F.2d 151,
152(8th Cir. 1993); Parker v. Porter. 221 F. App'x 481,482(8th Cir. 2007)(per curiam).
A complaint "docs not need detailed factual allegations ...[but] requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation ofthe elements of a cause of action will not
do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twomblv. 550 U.S. 544, 555(2007)(internal citations omitted). If a
complaint does not contain these bare essentials, dismissal is appropriate. See Beavers v.
Loekhart. 755 F.2d 657,663-64(8th Cir. 1985). Twomblv requires that a complaint's factual
allegations must be "enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true[.]" Twomblv. 550 U.S. at 555
(internal citation omitted); see also Abdullah v. Miimesota. 261 F. App'x 926, 927(8th Cir.
2008)(noting that a "complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all
material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory").
When a district court determines a plaintiff is financially eligible to proceed in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), the court must then determine whether the complaint should
be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Martin-Trigona v. Stewart. 691 F.2d 856, 857
(8th Cir. 19821: see also Kev v. Does. 217 F. Supp. 3d 1006, 1007(E.D. Ark. 2016). The court
must dismiss claims if they "(i)[are] frivolous or malicious;(ii) failto state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or (iii) seekmonetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court will now assess each individual claim under
28 U.S.C. § 1915.
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Clervrain's Causes of Action
Clervrain alleges that defendants violated his First Amendment rights, but he does not
indicate what actions defendants took that violated his rights. See Doc. 1 at 6. Construing his
complaint liberally, Clervrain brings claims for deprivation of his First Amendment right of
access to the courts and for conspiracy to deprive him of his rights against all defendants. See id,
First Amendment Access to the Courts Claims
"The Constitution guarantees prisoners a right to access the courts." White v. Kautzkv.
494 F.3d 677,679(8th Cir. 2007). To succeed on a claim for denial of access to the courts, a
plaintiff must show that he suffered actual injury as a result ofthe defendants' actions. Lewis v.
Casev. 518 U.S. 343, 349(1996). In order to satisfy the actual injury requirement, aplaintiff
must "demonstrate that a nonfrivolous legal claim had been frustrated or was being impeded."
Johnson v. Missouri. 142 F.3d 1087, 1089(8th Cir. 1998)(quoting Lewis. 518 U.S. at 353
Clervrain fails to show an actual injury as required by Lewis. Other than his conclusory
statement that defendants "violated access to the courts[,]" Clervrain makes no showing that he
had a nonfrivolous legal claim that was frustrated or impeded. See Docket 1 at 6. Further, he
makes no factual allegations regarding the named defendants at all. Id at 3-7. Thus, Clervrain's
access to the courts claims are dismissed without prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
To plead a civil conspiracy under § 1983, Clervrain must show "(1)two or more persons;
(2) an object to be accomplished;(3)a meeting of the minds on the object or course of action to
be taken;(4)the commission of one or more unlawful overt acts; and(5) damages as the
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proximate result ofthe conspiracy." Livers V; Schenck. 700 F.3d 340, 360-61 (8th Cir. 2012)
(quoting In re Temporomandibular Joint(TMJ)Implants Prods. Liab. Litig.. 113 F.3d 1484,
1498 (8th Cir. 1997))."The plaintiff is additionally required to prove a deprivation of a
constitutional right or privilege in order to prevail on a § 1983 civil conspiracy claim." White v.
McKinlev. 519 F.3d 806, 814(8th Cir. 2008)(citing Askew v. Millerd. 191 F.3d 953,957(8th
Cir. 1999)). The plaintiff must allege "specific facts tending to show" a meeting ofthe minds.
Murrav v. Lene. 595 F.3d 868, 870(8th Cir. 2010).
Clervrain fails to assert facts sufficient to show a meeting ofthe minds between
defendants. He makes no allegations offact regarding actions taken by defendants, including no
allegations offacts that would demonstrate a meeting ofthe minds between defendants. See
Docket 1 at 3-7. Further, he makes no showing that he was deprived of a constitutional right or
id. Thus, Clervrain's conspiracy claims against defendants are dismissed without
prejudice under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(l).
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that Clervrain's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. 2,is granted and
his initial filing fee is waived. It is further
ORDERED that Clervrain's claims against all defendants are dismissed without prejudice
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). It is further
ORDERED that Clervrain's motion to electronically file documents. Doc. 13, is granted.
It is finally
ORDERED that Clervrain's miscellaneous motions. Docs. 3,4, 5,6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11,
are denied as moot.
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BY THE COURT:
ROBERTO A. LANGE
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