United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER DIRECTING SERVICE IN PART AND DISMISSING
COMPLAINT IN PART
E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jeremy Bauer, is an inmate at the South Dakota State
Penitentiary (SDSP) in Sioux Falls. He filed a pro se civil
rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1.
The court has now screened Bauer’s complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below,
Bauer’s complaint is dismissed in part and survives
screening in part.
to Bauer’s complaint, on September 21, 2015,
Bauer’s habeas petition was dismissed in South Dakota
circuit court. Docket 1 at 5. SDSP received this order on
September 23, 2015. Id. Jacob Glaser,  the Unit
Coordinator in charge of delivering legal mail to inmates and
assigning inmate jobs, delivered the circuit court’s
order to Bauer on September 26, 2015. Id. at 5-6.
response, Bauer prepared and had notarized a motion for a
certificate of probable cause and a motion to appoint
counsel. Id. at 6. On October 6, 2015, Bauer gave
these documents to Glaser to send. Id. at 7. The
next day, Glaser called Bauer into his office and told him
that in order to send his legal documents, Bauer would have
to sign a money transfer form to pay for the postage.
Id. Bauer alleges that Department of Corrections
Policy states that prisoners do not have to pay for postage
on outgoing legal mail. Id. Glaser did not deliver
the documents to the mailroom until October 8, 2015.
Id. at 8.
alleges that the motion he delivered to Glaser on October 6
was not due under South Dakota state laws until October 14 at
the earliest. Id. at 8-9. The South Dakota Supreme
Court received Bauer’s motion on October 13, 2015.
Id. at 9. In an order signed by Chief Justice David
Gilbertson, the South Dakota Supreme Court dismissed
Bauer’s motion because it was filed twenty-two days
after entry of the circuit court’s order. Id.
filed grievances complaining that Glaser delayed mailing his
motions. Id. at 10. After investigating, Brendan
Knutson responded to Bauer’s grievances, telling him
that Glaser had called Bauer to receive his mail multiple
times before September 26, 2015. Id.
November 16, 2015, Bauer delivered to Glaser a motion to
reconsider, an affidavit in support of his motion, and proof
of service to send to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Id. Glaser again required Bauer to pay for postage.
Id. at 11. Glaser delivered these documents to the
mail room on November 19, 2015. Id. On November 20,
2015, Glaser had Bauer sign another money transfer form to
pay postage to mail these documents. Id.
November 24, 2015, the South Dakota Supreme Court received
these documents. Id. They were returned pursuant to
SDCL 15-26A-91, which states that “[a] petition for
reinstatement of an appeal dismissed by the Supreme Court may
be served and filed within twenty days after entry of the
order of dismissal." Docket 1 at 11.
December 1, 2015, Daniel Ducret, another inmate at SDSP, told
Bauer that there was an announcement on November 30, 2015,
over the PA system calling Bauer to pick up his legal mail.
Id. at 12; Docket 5 at 1. Bauer was at work and
could not hear the announcement. Docket 1 at 12. On February
15, 2016, Bauer sent a letter to Warden Darin Young
explaining everything that had happened in connection with
his legal mail. Id. Young did not respond.
April 20, 2016, Bauer filed his complaint in federal court.
Docket 1. He claimed that defendants had violated his rights
under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, specifically his
right of access to the courts, his right to due process, and
his right to equal protection. Id. at 4. Bauer
requests as relief that the court declare that Chief Justice
Gilbertson, Glaser, Knutson, and Young violated Bauer’s
constitutional rights. Id. at 14. He also requests
$50, 000 in compensatory damages and $100, 000 in punitive
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." Bell Atl. 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