Maloch v. Salt Lake County Metro Jail
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER TO AMEND DEFICIENT COMPLAINT. Plaintiff shall have THIRTY (30) DAYS from the date of this order to cure the deficiencies noted; the Clerk's Office shall mail Plaintiff a copy of thePro Se Litigant Guide; and, if Plaintiff fails to timely cure the above deficiencies according to the instructions here this action will be dismissedwithout further notice. Signed by Judge Dee Benson on 6/21/13. (jlw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
TIMOTHY MICHAEL MALOCH,
) MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
) TO AMEND DEFICIENT COMPLAINT
) Case No. 2:12-CV-1084 DB
) District Judge Dee Benson
SALT LAKE COUNTY METRO JAIL,
Plaintiff, inmate Timothy Michael Maloch, filed this pro se
civil rights suit, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2013), in forma
pauperis, see 28 id. § 1915.
The Court now screens the Complaint
and orders Plaintiff to file an amended complaint to cure
deficiencies before further pursuing his claims.
Deficiencies in Complaint
improperly names Salt Lake County Metro Jail as a defendant,
though it is not an independent legal entity that can sue or
states claims in violation of municipal-liability doctrine
alleges claims that are possibly invalidated by the rule in
Heck (see below).
Instructions to 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."
requirements mean to guarantee "that defendants enjoy fair notice
of what the claims against them are and the grounds upon which
TV Commc'ns Network, Inc. v ESPN, Inc., 767 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."
(10th Cir. 1991).
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110
Moreover, it is improper for the Court "to
assume the role of advocate for a pro se litigant."
the Court cannot "supply additional facts, [or] construct a legal
theory for plaintiff that assumes facts that have not been
Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th Cir. 1989).
Plaintiff should consider the following points before
refiling his complaint.
First, 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 supercedes original).
Second, the complaint must clearly state what each
defendant--typically, a named government employee--did to violate
Plaintiff's civil rights.
See Bennett v. Passic, 545 F.2d 1260,
1262-63 (10th Cir. 1976) (stating personal participation of each
named defendant is essential allegation in civil-rights action).
"To state a claim, a complaint must 'make clear exactly who is
alleged to have done what to whom.'"
Stone v. Albert, No. 08-
2222, slip op. at 4 (10th Cir. July 20, 2009) (unpublished)
(emphasis in original) (quoting Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d
1242, 1250 (10th Cir. 2008)).
Third, Plaintiff cannot name an individual as a defendant
based solely on his or her supervisory position.
See Mitchell v.
Maynard, 80 F.2d 1433, 1441 (10th Cir. 1996) (stating supervisory
status alone does not support § 1983 liability).
Fourth, "denial of a grievance, by itself without any
connection to the violation of constitutional rights alleged by
plaintiff, does not establish personal participation under §
Gallagher v. Shelton, No. 09-3113, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS
25787, at *11 (10th Cir. Nov. 24, 2009).
Fifth, subordinate agencies of counties are not separate
legal entities with capacity to sue or be sued.
See Dean v.
Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992) (stating sheriff's
and police departments are not usually considered legal entities
subject to suit under § 1983).
Thus, the Court construes
Plaintiff's claims against the Salt Lake County Metro Jail as
claims against Salt Lake County itself.
To establish the liability of municipal entities, such as
Salt Lake County, under § 1983, "a plaintiff must show (1) the
existence of a municipal custom or policy and (2) a direct causal
link between the custom or policy and the violation alleged."
Jenkins v. Wood, 81 F.3d 988, 993-94 (10th Cir. 1996) (citing
City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989)).
entities cannot be held liable under § 1983 based on the doctrine
of respondeat superior.
See Cannon v. City and County of Denver,
998 F.2d 867, 877 (10th Cir. 1993); see also Monell v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978).
Plaintiff has not so far established a direct causal link
between his alleged injuries and any custom or policy of Salt
Thus, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's
complaint, as it stands, appears to fail to state claims against
Salt Lake County.
Finally, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's claims appear
to involve some allegations that if true may invalidate his
conviction and/or sentencing.
"In Heck, the Supreme Court
explained that a § 1983 action that would impugn the validity of
a plaintiff's underlying conviction cannot be maintained unless
the conviction has been reversed on direct appeal or impaired by
Nichols v. Baer, No. 08-4158, 2009 U.S.
App. LEXIS 4302, at *4 (10th Cir. Mar. 5, 2009) (unpublished)
(citing Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)).
prevents litigants "from using a § 1983 action, with its more
lenient pleading rules, to challenge their conviction or sentence
without complying with the more stringent exhaustion requirements
for habeas actions."
Butler v. Compton, 482 F.3d 1277, 1279
(10th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).
Heck clarifies that "civil
tort actions are not appropriate vehicles for challenging the
validity of outstanding criminal judgments."
512 U.S. at 486.
Plaintiff argues that Defendant violated his constitutional
rights in a way that may attack Petitioner's very imprisonment.
Heck requires that, when a plaintiff requests damages in a § 1983
suit, this Court must decide whether judgment in the plaintiff's
favor would unavoidably imply that the conviction or sentence is
Id. at 487.
Here, it appears it may regarding some
If this Court were to conclude that Plaintiff's
constitutional rights regarding illegal incarceration were
violated in a prejudicial manner, it would be stating that
Plaintiff's conviction and/or sentence were not valid.
involved claims "must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can
demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been
This has not happened and may result in
dismissal of such claims.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
(1) Plaintiff shall have THIRTY (30) DAYS from the date of
this order to cure the deficiencies noted above;
(2) the Clerk's Office shall mail Plaintiff a copy of the
Pro Se Litigant Guide; and,
(3) if Plaintiff fails to timely cure the above deficiencies
according to the instructions here this action will be dismissed
without further notice.
DATED this 21st day of June, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
JUDGE DEE BENSON
United States District Court
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