United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND DIRECTING
LAWRENCE L. PIERSOL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Shane Douglas Bell, is an inmate at the South Dakota State
Penitentiary (SDSP) in Sioux Falls. Bell filed a pro se civil
rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915. Docket 1; Docket 6. The court has now
screened Bell's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. For the reasons stated below, Bell's complaint is
dismissed in part and survives screening in part.
to Bell's complaint, he has had multiple issues with
prison mailroom staff rejecting his incoming mail. He
received two books donated by Parallax press. Docket 1 at 6.
The prison mailroom rejected these books, refusing to deliver
them to Bell. Id. Bell alleges that defendant Craig
Mousel rejected these books because they were donated instead
of purchased. Id. The rejection notice was not
filed an informal resolution request concerning the
rejection. Id. Seth Hughes, a Unit Coordinator at
SDSP, denied the request without looking at the books, even
though the rejection was not signed. Id. Because it
was not signed, Bell claims he could not appeal the
rejection. Id. at 8.
prison mail room also rejected a magazine delivered to Bell.
Id. at 7. According to Bell, "Jane Doe #1 or
SCO Moisan" rejected a magazine called Military History
because she deemed it sexually explicit. Id. Again,
when Bell filed an informal resolution request, Hughes did
not personally inspect the magazine. Id.
also claims that defendants Dennis Kaemingk and Bob Dooley
make prison mail policies that are "ambiguous" and
"open to interpretation, " which causes
constitutional violations. Id. at 6. He also claims
that defendants Darin Young and Jennifer Dreiske enforce
policies and create prison mail rules that are "vague,
ambiguous, and open to interpretation" which causes
constitutional violations. Id. Young and Dreiske
also allegedly do not force prison staff to personally review
rejected material. Id. at 8.
April 5, 2016, Bell filed a § 1983 complaint raising two
counts under the First Amendment and one count under the
Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Docket 1. In
relief, he requests that the court order the prison to allow
books and magazines that can be purchased by minor citizens
be allowed into the prison, that the court order the prison
to allow books donated by charitable organizations, that the
court order the prison to review its mail policies and alter
them to satisfy the constitution, and that the court forbid
the prison from retaliating against him. Id. at 9.
He also requests defendants pay his costs and fees.
Id. Finally, he requests to be single celled.
court must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the
complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Schriener v. Quicken Loans,
Inc., 774 F.3d 442, 444 (8th Cir. 2014). Civil rights
and pro se complaints must be liberally construed.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation
omitted); Bediako v. Stein Mart, Inc., 354 F.3d 835,
839 (8th Cir. 2004). Even with this construction, "a pro
se complaint must contain specific facts supporting its
conclusions." Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334,
1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis v. City of Minneapolis,
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).
complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations .
. . [but] requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "If a plaintiff cannot make the
requisite showing, dismissal is appropriate."
Abdullah v. Minnesota, 261 F.App'x 926, 927 (8th
Cir. 2008); Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663
(8th Cir. 1985).
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this court must screen prisoner
claims and determine whether they are (1) frivolous,
malicious, or fail to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (2) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune. See Onstad v. Wilkinson, 534 F.App'x
581, 582 (8th Cir. 2013).
raises two first amendment claims and one Due Process claim
in his complaint. He alleges that defendants Mousel, Moisan,
Hughes, Dooley, Kaemingk, Young, and Dreiske violated his
rights under the First Amendment by rejecting his books and
magazines, making and enforcing the rules which caused these
rejections, and failing to adequately address his informal
resolution requests. He alleges that defendants Mousel,
Young, and Dreiske violated his ...