Marquez-Duran v. Salt Lake County Jail
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER to Cure Deficiencies in Complaint. It is hereby ordered that: Plaintiff shall have thirty days from the date of this Order to cure the deficiencies noted above. The Clerk's Office shall mail Plaintiff a copy of the Pro Se Litigant Guide. If Plaintiff fails to timely cure the above deficiencies according to the instructions here this action will be dismissed without further notice. Signed by Judge Clark Waddoups on 06/20/2017. (kpf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
TO CURE DEFICIENCIES
SALT LAKE COUNTY JAIL et al.,
Case No. 2:16-CV-805-CW
District Judge Clark Waddoups
Plaintiff, Ramiro Marquez-Duran, a Texas inmate, filed this pro se civil-rights suit. See
42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2017). Plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis. See 28 id. 1915. After
reviewing the Complaint, (Docket Entry # 4), the Court has determined that Plaintiff's
Complaint is deficient as described below.
Deficiencies in Complaint
(a) improperly names Salt Lake County Jail as a defendant, though it is not an
independent legal entity that can sue or be sued.
(b) appears to state claim in violation of municipal-liability doctrine (see below).
(c) has claims appearing to be based on conditions of current confinement; however, the
complaint was apparently not submitted using the legal help Plaintiff is entitled to by
his institution under the Constitution. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 356 (1996)
(requiring prisoners be given "'adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from
persons trained in the law' . . . to ensure that inmates . . . have a reasonably adequate
opportunity to file nonfrivolous legal claims challenging their convictions or
conditions of confinement") (quoting Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 (1977)
Instructions to Plaintiff
Under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure a complaint is required to contain
"(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends, . . .
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (3) a
demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The requirements of
Rule 8(a) are intended to guarantee "that defendants enjoy fair notice of what the claims against
them are and the grounds upon which they rest." TV Commnc'ns Network, Inc. v. ESPN, Inc.,767
F. Supp. 1062, 1069 (D. Colo. 1991), aff’d, 964 F.2d 1022 (10th Cir. 1992).
Pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with the minimal pleading requirements
of Rule 8. "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." Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1009 (10th Cir. 1991). Moreover, "it is not the proper function of the Court to assume the role of
advocate for a pro se litigant." Id. at 1110. Thus, the Court cannot "supply additional facts, [or]
construct a legal theory for plaintiff that assumes facts that have not been pleaded." Dunn v.
White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th Cir. 1989).
Plaintiff must consider these 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 any prior complaint. See Murray v. Archambo, 132 F.3d 609, 612 (10th Cir. 1998)
(stating amended complaint supersedes original). Second, the complaint must clearly state what
each individual defendant did to violate Plaintiff's civil rights. See Bennett v. Passic, 545 F.2d
1260, 1262-63 (10th Cir. 1976) (stating each named defendant’s personal participation 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 may not name an individual as a defendant based
solely on supervisory position. See Mitchell v. Maynard, 80 F.3d 1433, 1441, (10th Cir. 1996)
(stating supervisory status alone is insufficient to support liability under § 1983). And, fourth,
Plaintiff is warned that litigants who have had three in forma pauperis cases dismissed as
frivolous or meritless will be restricted from filing future lawsuits without prepaying fees.
Further, to establish the liability of a municipal entity, 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)).
Municipal 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 Lake County. Thus, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's Complaint,
as it stands, appears to fail to state claims against this county or its subdivisions (e.g., Salt Lake
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
(1) Plaintiff shall have thirty days from the date of this Order to cure the deficiencies
(2) The Clerk's Office shall mail Plaintiff a copy of the Pro Se Litigant Guide.
(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 20th day of June, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
United States District Judge
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