United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
LAPETE R. HICKS, SR., Plaintiff,
WARDEN DAREN YOUNG, ASSOCIATE WARDEN TROY PONTO, DR. EUGENE REGIER, DR. RYAN, Defendants.
ORDER FOR SERVICE AND DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
VERONICA L. DUFFY, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the court on plaintiff La Pete R. Hicks Sr.'s complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter has been referred to this magistrate judge for handling pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and the Honorable Karen E. Schreier's standing order of October 16, 2014. The purpose of this opinion is to screen Mr. Hicks' complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) to determine if it states a claim upon which relief may be granted.
A. Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
28 U.S.C. § 1915A requires the court to "screen" prisoner complaints. It states as follows:
§ 1915A. Screening
(a) Screening.-The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible, or in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for dismissal.-On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
(c) Definition.-As used in this section, the term "prisoner" means any person incarcerated or detained in any facility who is accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms and conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1), a prisoner's complaint should be dismissed on screening if it "fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." This standard is the same standard as is used to determine whether a complaint satisfies the standards of FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). Kane v. Lancaster County Dept. of Corrections, 960 F.Supp. 219 (D. Neb. 1997). A prisoner complaint is screened for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 "accepting as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint and affording the plaintiff all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those allegations." Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 540-41 (8th Cir. 2014). Further, "a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, [is held] to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Jackson, 747 F.3d at 541. (citation omitted).
The United States Supreme Court addressed the standard district courts are to apply to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) motions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). The law predating Twombly and Iqbal held that under FED R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6), the court should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). However, Conley's "no set of facts" language was overruled in Twombly. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563. ...