United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
KYLE G. SOTO, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES MARSHALLS, in their official capacity; PENNINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, in their official capacity; AND JUDGE ROBERT MANDEL, in his individual capacity, Defendants.
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE
Kyle Soto is an inmate at the Pennington County Jail in Rapid
City, South Dakota. He filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and Bivens v. Six Unknown
Federal Narcotics Agents alleging defendants violated
his constitutional rights. (Docket 1 at p. 1). The court granted
Mr. Soto leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915 and he timely paid his initial filing fee.
(Docket 5). The court now screens and dismisses Mr.
Soto's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Soto states he was “summoned to appear in civil court
for a protection order hearing” on May 21, 2018.
(Docket 1 at p. 4). Mr. Soto asked a jail official if he
would be taken to court for the hearing and the official told
him the United States Marshals Service (“USMS”)
had placed a hold on him, preventing his transfer to court.
Id. The official further stated “they
don't transfer Federal inmates to civil court because
it's to [sic.] much of a hassel [sic].”
Id. Mr. Soto alleges the failure to transport him to
court resulted in a default protection order, which denied
him contact with his children. Id. Mr. Soto also
alleges he was forced to obtain a lawyer to avoid default and
has incurred $4, 000 in expenses as well as missed time with
his children. Id. at p. 5.
protection order proceedings took place before South Dakota
Seventh Circuit Judge Robert Mandel. Id. Mr. Soto
alleges Judge Mandel made rulings in three separate hearings
without him present. Id. Mr. Soto further states he
sent “letters begging for relief” from the lack
of transportation to Judge Mandel, without response.
Soto asserts the USMS, the Pennington County Sheriff's
Office and Judge Mandel violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
Id. at pp. 4-5. He specifically asserts Judge Mandel
denied him due process by making rulings in his case without
him present. Id. at p. 5. Mr. Soto requests
injunctive relief for himself and other federal inmates that
they may be transported to court from the Pennington County
Jail. Id. at p. 7. Mr. Soto finally asks the court
to sanction Judge Mandel for “improper and excessive
rulings.” Id. Finally, he seeks reimbursement
for the $4, 000 in attorney's fees as well as damages for
mental and financial stress “forced” upon him,
his parents, and his children. Id.
Prisoner Complaint Screening
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review a prisoner
complaint and identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. This screening
process “applies to all civil complaints filed by [a]
prisoner, regardless of payment of [the] filing fee.”
Lewis v. Estes, 242 F.3d 375 at *1 (8th Cir. 2000)
(unpublished) (citing Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115,
116 (2d Cir. 1999)). During this initial screening process,
the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety or in
part if the complaint is “frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted” or “seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
court may dismiss a complaint under §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a
claim as “the statute 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.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
Mr. Soto is proceeding pro se, his pleading must be liberally
construed and his complaint, “however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). 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.