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Anderson v. Dooley

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

July 10, 2017

DONALD LOREN ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
BOB DOOLEY, Warden, South Dakota State Penitentiary; MARTY JACKLEY, Attorney General, State of South Dakota, Defendants.

          ORDER SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING SERVICE

          KAREN E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Donald Loren Anderson, is an inmate at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield, South Dakota. Anderson filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and paid his filing fee. Docket 1; Docket 3; Docket 5. The court has now screened his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and for the reasons stated below, the court dismisses Anderson's complaint in part and directs service in part.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Anderson's complaint generally concerns his disability and the prison's failure to accommodate that disability. Docket 1. He alleges that he uses hearing aids, that he is in a wheelchair, and that he has medical issues with his hands that cause him pain. Id.

         When Anderson arrived at the prison his hearing aids started malfunctioning. Id. at 2. When he asked prison officials for help, they told him to mail his hearing aids out of the prison because they did not want to be responsible for them. Id. He also asked prison officials for a release of information form in order to get evidence from the veteran's association, the suppliers of the hearing aids. Id. This request was denied. Id.

         Anderson alleges that his cell is too small, given his disability and the fact that he shares the cell with another inmate who is also in a wheelchair. Id. at 2-3. The door is too narrow, and Anderson has injured himself by hitting it while going through in his wheelchair. Id. at 2. He also has medical issues with his hands that make it very painful to maneuver his wheelchair in the cramped cell. Id. at 2-3.

         Anderson generally alleges that the prison is not built properly to accommodate his disability. Id. at 1. He also alleges that the state penitentiary is currently being remodeled but not in compliance with the ADA. Id. This includes the medical building, the housing units, and the law library. Id.

         Anderson also alleges a number of ways in which those in wheelchairs are discriminated against in the prison. He alleges that inmates in wheelchairs are allowed only one hour of recreation time a week, if they are allowed any at all. Id. at 4. He alleges that they are not allowed to drop off their laundry. Id. He also complains generally that he is forced to pay for medical treatment, even though he is a disabled veteran. Id.

         On May 19, 2017, Anderson filed this complaint, seeking injunctive relief as well as damages for his injuries. Id. at 3. He requests that the prison be ordered to fully comply with the ADA. Id. Anderson paid a portion of his filing fee on June 17, 2017, and the remainder on June 19. Docket 3; Docket 5.

         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.” 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). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must screen prisoner complaints and dismiss them if they are “(1) frivolous, ...


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