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Tiedeman v. D.O.C.

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

June 7, 2019

JESSE C. TIEDEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
D.O.C., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING CASE

          KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Jesse Tiedeman, is an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Tiedeman 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 4. Tiedeman also filed a motion to appoint counsel and several supplements to his complaint. Dockets 6; 8-13. The court has now screened Tiedeman's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the following reasons, the court grants Tiedeman's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismisses his complaint.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Tiedeman names the Department of Corrections (DOC) as the only defendant in this case. Docket 1. Although difficult to follow, Tiedeman claims the DOC interfered with his mail and access to the courts. Id.

         Tiedeman alleges that the DOC has interfered with his mail on several occasions. Id. When Tiedeman received mail from the United States Department of the Interior, he was able to view the contents briefly before the mail was confiscated. Id. at 4. Tiedeman further alleges that the DOC interfered with his access to the courts by denying him legal copies, stealing his legal documents, and denying him the right to mail his legal documents. Id. at 1, 3, 5-6, 10, 13, 16-14. As relief, Tiedeman requests $10 million in damages and reinstatement of his disability pay. Id. at 11.

         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); see also 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); see also 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).

         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 proceeding 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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