United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER DISMISSING CASE
ROBERTO A. LANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
January 8, 2019, Charles R. Johnson filed a pro se action
against the "Springfield Prison (Mike Durfee State
Prison)," listing the address of the Mike Durfee State
Prison in Springfield, South Dakota. Doc. 1. Johnson's
stated grounds for filing the case in Federal Court include
"conspiracy to deprive of civil rights,"
"medical malpractice," and "intentional
infliction of emotional distress." Id.
also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis,
Doc. 2, indicating that he is indigent. Johnson was not a
prisoner at the time he filed the Motion. See Docs.
1, 2, 4. There is a two-step screening process with in forma
pauperis litigants. Martin-Trigona v. Stewart, 691
F.2d 856, 857 (8th Cir.1982); see also Key v Does,
217 F.Supp.3d 1006, 1006 (E.D. Ark. 2016). First, district
courts must determine whether a plaintiff is financially
eligible to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a). Id. Second, district courts are to
determine whether the complaint should be dismissed under 28
U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B). Id.
Court may authorize the commencement of suit without
prepayment of fees when an applicant files an affidavit
stating he is unable to pay the costs of the lawsuit. 18
U.S.C. § 1915. Determining whether an applicant is
sufficiently impoverished to qualify to proceed in forma
pauperis under §1915 is committed to the court's
discretion. Cross v. Gen. Motors Corp.. 721 F.2d
1152, 1157 (8th Cir. 1983). "In forma pauperis status
does not require a litigant to demonstrate absolute
destitution." Lee v. McDonald's Corp.. 231
F.3d 456 (8th Cir. 2000). Considering the information in the
financial affidavit, this Court finds that Johnson has made
the requisite financial showing to proceed in forma pauperis.
inquiry does not end there. Under §1915, the court must
review the claims in the complaint to determine if they are
(1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or (3) seek monetary relief
against a defendant who has immunity. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). The Supreme Court of the United States
has also explained that the screening procedure of §
1915(e) "accords judges not only the
authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32
in forma pauperis complaint may not be dismissed, however,
simply because the court finds the plaintiffs allegations
unlikely." Id. at 33. Pro se complaints like
the one in this case are entitled to a liberal construction.
Atkinson V. Bohn, 91 F.3d 1127, 1129 (8th Cir. 1996)
(per curiam). Although pro se complaints are to be construed
liberally, "they must stili allege facts sufficient to
support the claims advanced." Stone v. Harry.
364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004). The court is not required
to supply additional facts for a pro se plaintiff, nor
construct a legal theory that assumes facts which have not
been pleaded. Id.
does not identify the grounds for this Court's
jurisdiction. See Doc. 1. The Court construes
Johnson's complaint as one brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. "Section 1983 creates a species of tort liability
for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution." Manuel v. City of
Joliei, 137 S.Ct. 911, 916 (2017) (internal citation
omitted). "The essential elements of a constitutional
claim under § 1983 are (1) that the defendant acted
under the color of state law, and (2) that the alleged
wrongful conduct deprived the plaintiff of a constitutionally
protected federal right." L.L. Nelson Enters., Inc.
v. Cty. of St. Louis, 773 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 2012)
(citing Schmidt v. City of Bella Villa, 557 F.3d
564, 571 (8th Cir. 2009)).
claims the Springfield Prison failed to order enough chemical
to sterilize dental tools. Doc. 1. As a result, Johnson
complains that he developed a severe bacterial infection
following a surgery. Id. at 2.
42 U.S.C. § 1983 only "persons" may be sued
for constitutional violations. A state and its agencies sued
for monetary relief are not "persons" for purposes
of § 1983. Will v. Michigan Dept. of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 & 70 (1989). The Mike Durfee
State Prison in Springfield, South Dakota is an arm of the
State of South Dakota, and as such, is not subject to suit
under § 1983. See SDCL § 1-15-1.2. Thus, .
Johnson's complaint fails to state a claim on Which
relief can be granted and must be dismissed. Accordingly, it
that Johnson's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc.
2) is granted. It is further .
that Johnson's case is dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim. It is further
ORDERED that Johnson's Motion to Electronically File
Documents (Doc. 6) is denied.