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Miner v. Minnehaha County Jail

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

April 10, 2018

ROLAND MINER III, Plaintiff,
v.
MINNEHAHA COUNTY JAIL, in its individual and official capacity; and KURT SCHAUNAMAN, Correctional Officer; in his individual and official capacity; Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DIRECTING SERVICE

          KAREN E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Ronald Miner III, is an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary (SDSP) in Sioux Falls. Miner filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Docket 1; Docket 2. The court has now screened Miner's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the following reasons, the court grants Miner's motion to proceed in forma pauper and dismisses his complaint in part and directs service in part.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Miner's complaint generally concerns alleged violations of his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Docket 1. While incarcerated in the Minnehaha County Jail, Miner alleges that he encountered problems with defendant Kurt Schaunaman. Id. at 4. He alleges that Schaunaman ordered correctional officers to physically and emotionally harm him. Id. at 5. Multiple officers allegedly told Miner to kill himself. Id. at 4. Schaunaman allegedly showed officers how to assault Miner and get away with it. Id. at 5. Miner alleges that while in restraints he was assaulted by officers jumping on his arms. He also alleges that he was repeatedly assaulted in the shower and denied clean clothing. After months without clean clothing, Miner developed a staph infection. Id. at 4-5.

         Miner claims he was not able to file a grievance, because he was denied access to the kiosk machine used to file grievances. Id. at 8. He also tried to make his complaints to other officers with no success. 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 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. 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

         I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a prisoner who “brings a civil action or files an appeal in forma pauperis . . . shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing fee.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The court may, however, accept partial payment of the initial filing fee where appropriate. Therefore, “ '[w]hen an inmate seeks pauper status, the only issue is whether the inmate pays the entire fee at the initiation of the proceedings or over a period of time under an installment plan.' “ Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 483 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997)).

         The initial partial filing fee that accompanies an installment plan is calculated according to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), which ...


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