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Flying Horse v. Hansen

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

July 13, 2017

JOSEPH R. FLYING HORSE, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES HANSEN, Parole Agent, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; DOUG CLARK, Supervising Parole Agent, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; KRISTA BAST, Manager, Sued in her Official and Individual Capacities; SETH HUGHES, Unit Coordinator, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; DARIN YOUNG, Warden, of the South Dakota State Penitentiary, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; DENNY KAEMINGK, Secretary of Corrections, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; MIRANDA WARD, SDSP Manager, Sued in her Official and Individual Capacities; RILEY DEGROOT, SDSP Manager, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; TROY PONTO, SDSP Associate Warden, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; DARIK BEIBER, SDSP Unit Manager, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; VAL MCGOVERN, Board Staff, Sued in her Official and Individual Capacities; STACY COLE, Board Staff, Sued in her Official and Individual Capacities; KAYLA STUCKY, Board Staff, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; ASHLEY MCDONALD, DOC Attorney, Sued in his Official and Individual Capacities; PENNINGTON COUNTY, Respondeat Superior, for Pennington County State's Attorney Office; SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; SOUTH DAKOTA BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND DIRECTING SERVICE

          KAREN E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Joseph R. Flying Horse, is an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Flying Horse filed an amended complaint, arguing that defendants violated his constitutional rights. Docket 9. For the following reasons, the court dismisses Flying Horse's amended complaint in part and directs service.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         On November 7, 2016, Flying Horse filed an amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, raising a number of claims that defendants violated his constitutional rights in connection to his detention while on parole. Docket 9. The court screened Flying Horse's amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, found his claims barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and dismissed his complaint. Docket 14. Flying Horse appealed. Docket 18.

         The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded the case to this court for further proceedings. Docket 25. The Eighth Circuit found that to the extent Flying Horse sought release from confinement, he must seek habeas relief, and to the extent he sought damages for his confinement after his parole was revoked, his claims were barred by Heck. Id. at 2-3. But the Eighth Circuit found that to the extent Flying Horse sought damages for the time period between when his parole detainer expired and when his parole was revoked, Heck did not bar his claims. Id. at 3. Therefore, the Eighth Circuit remanded the case to this court. Id. Because the court has not screened Flying Horse's claims that are not Heck barred on the merits, his amended complaint must be screened again under § 1915A.

         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, malicious, or fail[] to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seek[] monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 1915A(b).

         DISCUSSION

         Flying Horse raises claims under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Docket 9 at 36-38. He also claims that his rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause were violated. Id. at 38. Finally, he claims that these violations caused him a “loss of consortium with his family and work, ” caused him mental anguish, caused him emotional distress, and a “loss of life[.]” Id. at 38-39. He claims that all of the defendants individually and collectively violated his rights in each of his claims. Id. at 36-39.

         I. Unlawful Detainment and Illegal Confinement

         The majority of Flying Horse's allegations concern the time period between when his parole detainer expired and when his parole was revoked. He was incarcerated throughout this time. Flying Horse claims that this incarceration violated his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

         A. Fourteenth Amendment

         A parolee has a liberty interest in his conditional freedom that is “within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 484 (1972). Flying Horse alleges that defendants violated his rights by illegally detaining him. He alleges that when his parole detainer expired, he was not released. He was told that he was being held due to pending charges, but when he received his state records, they showed that he had no charges pending. Flying Horse argues that defendants, while working for the parole board or the Department of Corrections, detained him without a parole detainer, without pending charges, and without revoking his parole. Therefore, Flying Horse states a claim under the Fourteenth Amendment.

         B. First Amendment Retaliation

         Flying Horse alleges that defendants violated his rights under the First Amendment by retaliating against him. To state a claim for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, Flying Horse “must ‘show (1) he engaged in a protected activity, (2) the government official took adverse action against him that would chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing in the activity, and (3) the adverse action was motivated at least in part by the exercise of the protected activity.' ” Spencer v. Jackson Cty. Mo., 738 F.3d 907, 911 (8th Cir. 2013) (citing Revels v. Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870, 876 (8th Cir. 2004)).

         Flying Horse alleges that he went to trial in his criminal case and that he filed this civil case against defendants. Both the filing of an inmate lawsuit and presenting a defense in a criminal trial are protected activities. Lewis v. Jacks, 486 F.3d 1025, 1029 (8th Cir. 2007); United States v. Petters, 663 F.3d 375, 381 (8th Cir. 2011). These actions would chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing in the protected activity, and Flying Horse alleges that all of the actions defendants allegedly took were in ...


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