United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
1915A SCREENING AND ORDER DISMISSING CASE
E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Donald Loren Anderson, filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 5. Anderson alleges
violations of the Eighth Amendment and the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. at 6-8. Anderson
paid his full filing fee on June 21, 2019. He also filed a
motion for directed verdict. Docket 6.
facts as alleged in the complaint are: Anderson has been lied
to and has been subjected to harassment so he would admit his
guilt. Docket 5 at 6. Anderson claims he was denied due
process and is suffering from the loss of income and has lost
all faith in the justice system and America. Id.
claims he has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment
when the defendants transferred him to facilities that are
“not handicapped accessible.” Id. at 7.
Anderson fears for his life and is suffering physically and
asks for ten million dollars for his pain, suffering, and
loss of income. Id. at 9. He asks for an additional
ten million dollars for “pain and suffering” and
these awards should be given “so the voters and
taxpayers will scream for a change at this prison.”
Id. Anderson requests that the “Stop or Sump
program be shut down” and claims this program is used
to violate civil rights. Id. Anderson urges that
“Federal Funds be cut off to [the] state of South
Dakota, as this state does not believe in civil
rights[.]” Id. All defendants in this action
are sued in their official capacities only. Id. at
court must assume as true all facts well pleaded in the
complaint. Estate of Rosenberg v. Crandell, 56 F.3d
35, 36 (8th Cir. 1995). Civil rights and pro se complaints
must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007); 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).
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 it does not contain these bare
essentials, dismissal is appropriate. Beavers v.
Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985).
Twombly requires that a complaint's factual
allegations must be “enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see also Abdullah v.
Minnesota, 261 Fed.Appx. 926, 927 (8th Cir. 2008)
(noting that a complaint must contain either direct or
inferential allegations regarding all material elements
necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal
theory). 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). The court will now assess each individual
claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
has sued the state of South Dakota, the Department of
Corrections (DOC), and each of the defendants in their
official capacities. Docket 5 at 1-4. He has not sued the
defendants in their individual capacities. Id. As
the Supreme Court has stated, “a suit against a state
official in his or her official capacity is not a suit
against the official but rather is a suit against the
official's office.” Will v. Mich. Dep't of
State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (citing Brandon
v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 471 (1985)). Thus, it is a suit
against the state itself. While “[§] 1983 provides
a federal forum to remedy many deprivations of civil
liberties . . . it does not provide a federal forum for
litigants who seek a remedy against a State for alleged
deprivations of civil liberties.” Id. at 66.
Eleventh Amendment generally acts as a bar to suits against a
state for money damages unless the state has waived its
sovereign immunity. Id. But when an official
capacity claim is asserted for injunctive relief against a
state officer, the defense of qualified immunity does not
apply. See Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 242-43
as part of Anderson's requested remedy, he seeks to
recover money damages of twenty million dollars. Docket 5 at
9. Consequently, because Anderson has sued defendants only in
their official capacities, Anderson has asserted a claim for
money damages against the state of South Dakota. The state of
South Dakota has not waived its sovereign immunity. Thus, to
the extent Anderson seeks to hold defendants liable in their
official capacities for money damages, the court finds that
all of the defendants are protected by sovereign immunity and
are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Anderson has not
asserted a claim against the defendants in their individual
capacities and has not asked for ...