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Montileaux v. Schied

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

June 17, 2016




         Plaintiff, Miriam C. Montileaux, is an inmate at the South Dakota Women's Prison in Pierre. She filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 22, 2016, an amended complaint on April 20, 2016, and a second amended complaint on May 9, 2016. Doc. 1; Doc. 9; Doc. 13. Because Montileaux is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis, this Court must screen her complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below, Montileaux's complaint survives screening.


         In her previous complaints, Montileaux alleged that prison staff claimed she made allegations that Michael Carlton, a member of prison staff, sexually assaulted her. Doc. 1; Doc. 9. According to the second amended complaint, William Schied, Stephanie Paul, and Jessica Ucker tampered with Montileaux's medical and mental health records to facilitate bringing charges against Carlton. Doc. 13 at 2-3. Tanya Perman and James Nelsen allegedly misconstrued Montileaux's remarks and made false accusations against Carlton. Id. at 3-4. Jon Degreef and Scott Mees allegedly made false statements to the state court, claiming that Carlton had sexually assaulted Montileaux even though she did not say that. Id. at 2. According to the second amended complaint, Jayme Baloun "went along" with Degreef and Mees' claims because Schied ordered him to. Id. at 3.

         On March 22, 2016, Montileaux filed her original complaint. Doc. 1. The Court screened Montileaux's complaint and ordered service after dismissing certain defendants. Doc. 7. Montileaux then filed an amended complaint. Doc. 9. Before the Court had screened the amended complaint, Montileaux filed a second amended complaint. Doc. 13. She is not attempting to add back defendants who have been previously dismissed.

         Montileaux requests some relief beyond what this Court can do. She wants this Court to order the state court to disclose information and the judgment from the proceedings concerning Michael Carlton, to remove her name and medical records from that matter, and to have criminal charges brought against defendants. Id. at 9.


         At this stage of the case, this 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). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory. Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993).

         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." Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this Court must screen any prisoner complaint filed in forma pauperis and determine whether it is (1) "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."


         Although her previous complaints brought unviable claims against improper defendants, her second amended complaint does not raise these claims or name these defendants. "When a plaintiff files an amended complaint, the original complaint is superseded and has no legal effect." Thomas v. United Steelworkers Local 1938, 743 F.3d 1134, 1139 (8th Cir. 2014) (citing In re Atlas Van Lines, Inc., 209 F.3d 1064, 1067 (8th Cir. 2000)). Construed liberally, Montileaux's second amended complaint raises a single claim: that defendants violated her privacy by tampering with her medical and mental health records in order to bring charges against Michael Carlton.

         Montileaux alleges that her medical and mental health records were tampered with, falsified, and disseminated in order to pursue false charges against Carlton. Doc. 13 at 6. She claims her Eighth Amendment rights were violated because she was denied adequate and accurate records. Id. at 9. While courts have found that inadequate medical records may violate a prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights, it was because the medical records were necessary to provide adequate health care. Burks v. Teasdale, 492 F.Supp. 650, 676 (W.D. Mo. 1980). Montileaux's claim concerns the privacy of her medical file rather than her health care. She alleges that defendants altered her file in order to bring charges against a third party and disseminated that false information about her.

         Montileaux arguably has a right to the privacy of her medical files. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has recognized generally that the "Constitution protects individuals against invasion of their privacy by the government." McCaslin v. Campbell, No. 95-4041, 1997 WL 148824, at *2 (8th Cir. April 2, 1997). "Th[e] protection against public dissemination of information is limited and extends only to highly personal matters representing 'the ...

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