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Miner v. Ditmanson

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

May 23, 2018

KEITH DITMANSON, Unit Manager - A Floor, individual and official capacity; KASSANDRA HALL, Mental Health, individual and official capacity; JOE WELSCH, Mental Health, individual and official capacity; ROBERT FREDRICKSON, Mental Health, individual and official capacity; DAREN YOUNG, individual and official capacity; and ANDREW WILLIAMS, individual and official capacity; Defendants.




         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 3. 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 pauperis, dismisses his complaint in part, and directs service in part.


         Miner's complaint generally concerns alleged violations of his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Docket 1. Miner alleges that Keith Ditmanson[1], Kassandra Hall, Joe Welsch, Robert Fredrickson, and Daren Young created a four point care plan that was used to punish him. Id. at 5. When the four point care plan was restarted, Miner alleges that he was left on the four point care plan for more than twenty-four hours and denied an hour to walk to prevent blood clots.

         Miner also alleges that Ditmanson tried to humiliate him by cutting off his clothing in front of female guards, without first providing him the opportunity to remove the clothing himself. Id. at 13. Miner alleges that Ditmanson directed correctional officers to harass him verbally and physically. For example, Miner alleges that correctional officers stepped on his feet, falsely claimed Miner was resisting, and unnecessarily used force. Id. Miner alleges that Andrew Williams assaulted him by performing an “infra orbital” at Ditmanson's direction. Id. While performing the “infra orbital, ” Miner alleges that Williams stated, “ ‘you think I forgot' or that ‘I'll cuff you up so you can slip'em and we can fight.' ” Id.


         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 “(1) [are] 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).


          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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