Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kader v. Department of Corrections

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

September 25, 2018

BRIAN E. KADER, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, SUSAN JOHANNSEN, CLERK OF COURTS, THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, STATE OF SD, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY; ROBERT DOOLEY, DIRECTOR OF PRISON OPERATIONS AND WARDEN, MIKE DURFEE STATE PRISON, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; JOSH KLIMEK, UNIT MANAGER, WEST CRAWFORD HALL, MIKE DURFEE STATE PRISON, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; MANUEL DE CASTRO JR., ATTORNEY APPOINTED IN HABEAS ACTION IN SANBORN COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA; INDIVIDUALLY AND HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; JEFFREY LARSON, SANBORN COUNTY PROSECUTOR, WOONSOCKET, SOUTH DAKOTA, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; JUDGE VINCE FOLEY, CIIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, BROOKINGS, SD, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; UNKNOWN STAFF, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY; AND UNKNOWN MAILROOM STAFF, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY; Defendants.

          ORDER DIRECTING SERVICE IN PART AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART

          KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Brian E. Kader, is an inmate at Mike Durfee State Prison (MDSP) in Springfield, South Dakota. Kader filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1. The court screened Kader's original complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and dismissed it without prejudice. Docket 11. Kader moved to amend his complaint, and the court granted his motion. Docket 13; Docket 14. Kader filed an amended pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion for reconsideration. Docket 15; Docket 16. The court now screens Kader's amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and for the reasons stated below, the court dismisses Kader's complaint in part and directs service in part. The court also denies Kader's motion to reconsider.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The relevant facts are set forth in the initial screening order at docket 11. Kader's amended complaint includes the addition of the following defendant: Mike Grossheusch [sic][1] as the Mike Durfee State Prison Mailroom Supervisor. Docket 15 ¶ 9. The amended complaint also includes the addition of the following facts as alleged by Kader:

         Kader has “exhausted all available remedies.” Id. ¶ 12. Kader adds to his cruel and unusual punishment facts by alleging the showers at MDSP are moldy and constantly wet. Id. ¶ 46. The overcrowding in West Crawford hall is because the “building was designed as a college dormitory” originally planned for 36 students but currently houses “66 inmates in the same facility.” Id. ¶ 47. Shower facilities have been limited now that West Crawford was made handicap accessible. Id. ¶ 48. Laundry at MDSP is returned to inmates “wet and unclean” as there are not enough washing machines. Id. ¶ 49. When inmates complained about their laundry being unclean, the Department of Corrections did not fix the problem but “began issuing brown boxers to hide urine and fecal stains.” Id. ¶ 50. This did not make the laundry clean. Id. Finally, Kader alleges that Mike Grosshuesch, along with MDSP mailroom staff, censored his subscription to Archeology magazine. Id. ¶ 57.

         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). As a pro se plaintiff, the court lowers the pleading standards, but the court “ ‘will not supply additional facts, nor will [it] construct a legal theory for plaintiff that assumes facts that have not been pleaded.' ” Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (quoting Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th Cir. 1989)). 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. Parker v. Porter, 221 Fed.Appx. 481, 482 (8th Cir. 2007); 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.” 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) (per curiam); 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motion for Reconsideration

         As an initial matter, Kader moves this court to reconsider its earlier motion dismissing his original complaint without prejudice. Docket 16. Because Kader amended his complaint, his motion for reconsideration is denied as moot.

         II. Habeas Relief

         Kader's amended complaint requests that “this court also treat this action as a petition of habeas corpus.” Docket 15 ¶ 67. The Supreme Court held in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) that a state prisoner cannot use a § 1983 action to challenge his confinement. “When ‘a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence' . . . § 1983 is not an available remedy.” Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 533 (2011) (quoting Heck, 512 U.S. at 487); see also Abdullah, 261 Fed.Appx. at 927 (stating that if the plaintiff cannot show the invalidity of his conviction or sentence, dismissal is appropriate). Thus, this court will not treat Kader's § 1983 action as a habeas corpus petition.

         III. Mailroom Censorship

         Kader alleges that defendants violated his First Amendment rights by censoring his magazine subscriptions. Docket 15 ¶ 61. He alleges “mailroom staff are able to censor any item they want, ” and the censorship policy is “vague, ” allowing mailroom staff censorship to continue. Id. ¶ 56. Specifically, Kader alleges the Unknown Mailroom Staff and Mike Grosshuesch have wrongly censored his subscription to Archeology magazine. Id. ¶ 57. He also alleges Unknown Mailroom Staff wrongly censored his subscription to Wired, a computer technology magazine. Id. ¶ 56. Kader alleges he was unable to view his magazines, “resulting in monetary losses for his subscriptions.” Id. ¶ 61.

         In Turner v. Safley, the Supreme Court held that prison rules are constitutional if they are “reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.” 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987). Turner provided four factors to determine whether a prison rule withstands scrutiny:

(1) whether there is a valid rational connection between the regulation and the legitimate government interest it purports to further; (2) whether the inmate has an alternative means of exercising his constitutional right; (3) the impact that accommodation of the inmate's right would have upon others, including inmates as well as non-inmates; and (4) the absence of a ready alternative to the regulation.

Ortiz v. Fort Dodge Corr. Facility, 368 F.3d 1024, 1026 (8th Cir. 2004). This standard applies to both incoming and outgoing mail. Thongvanh v. Thalacker, 17 F.3d 256, 259 (8th Cir. 1994). “While prisoners retain their constitutional rights, limitations may be placed on the exercise of those rights because of the needs of the penal system.” Kaden v. Slykhuis, 651 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 2011) (citing Turner, 482 U.S. at 84-85). “[P]rison officials may lawfully censor prison mail that is detrimental to the security, good order and discipline of the institution.” Id. (citing Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 404 (1989)). To decide whether a prison policy advances “a legitimate penological interest, ” the court must consider all four factors. Id. (quoting Turner, 482 U.S. at 89-90).

         For example, in Kaden, a South Dakota state prison inmate alleged that the prison mailroom staff violated his First Amendment rights by censoring his magazine subscription. 651 F.3d at 967-68. The complaint was screened and dismissed under § 1915A by the district court. Id. at 968. The Eighth Circuit found Kaden's allegations “sufficient to plausibly state a claim under § 1983.” Id. at 969. The Eighth Circuit found “a reasonable inference that SDSP's policy was unconstitutionally applied to the censored publication.” Id.

         The same is true here. Kader alleges that Grosshuesch and unknown mailroom staff violated his First Amendment rights by rejecting his magazines because they were sexually explicit. Docket 15 ¶¶ 56-57. Kader alleges that the magazines “are sold over the counter at many retailers and do not contain sexually explicit material.” Id. ¶ 57. Kader alleges that the Department of Corrections policy defining “sexually explicit” material is ambiguous and is “defined by the person in the mailroom on any given day.” Id. Liberally ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.