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Bell v. Young

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

May 27, 2016

SHANE DOUGLAS BELL, Plaintiff,
v.
DARIN YOUNG, JENNIFER DREISKE, SETH HUGHES, DENNIS KAEMINGK, BOB DOOLEY, CRAIG MOUSEL, SCO MOISAN, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND DIRECTING SERVICE

          LAWRENCE L. PIERSOL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, 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.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         According 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 signed. Id.

         Bell 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.

         The 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.

         Bell 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.

         On 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. Id.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The 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).

         A 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).

         Under 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).

         DISCUSSION

         Bell 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 ...


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