United States District Court, D. Kansas
RANDALL J. RITCHIE, Plaintiff,
AUSTIN DESLAURIERS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MURGUIA United States District Judge
Randall J. Ritchie brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against defendants Austin DesLauriers, Michael
Dixon, Bill Rein, and Tim Keck. Plaintiff claims that
defendants violated his constitutional rights. Specifically,
plaintiff claims that defendants failed to provide adequate
treatment for plaintiff in the Kansas Sexual Predator
Treatment Program (“SPTP”)-preventing
plaintiff's progress through the SPTP stages and denying
him a realistic opportunity to reintegrate into society.
Plaintiff argues that these actions violate the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
Further, plaintiff argues that his civil commitment due to
past criminal behavior violates his Fifth Amendment
protection against double jeopardy. Plaintiff seeks complete
release, along with declaratory, injunctive, and monetary
matter is before the court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, or in the alternative, For
a More Definite Statement. (Doc. 21.) Defendants argue that
plaintiff's complaint is moot and should be dismissed for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). In the alternative, defendants
request a more definite statement under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(e), 8(a)(2), and 8(d)(1). For the reasons
set forth below, the court grants defendants' motion in
part and denies it in part.
filed this action pro se on January 4, 2017. (Doc. 1.) The
next day, United States District Judge Sam Crow deemed the
complaint deficient, in part, for failure to use
court-approved forms. (Doc. 4.) Plaintiff refiled his
complaint on court-approved forms on February 8, 2017. (Doc.
5.) Plaintiff's second complaint is shorter than the
first complaint and organized according to court-approved
forms. Id. Plaintiff further amended his complaint
on March 28, 2017 to include the results of a polygraph test.
(Doc. 12.) In his complaint, plaintiff prays for immediate
release from SPTP with prejudice, declaratory relief,
injunctive relief, removal of plaintiff's Sexually
Violent Predator (“SVP”) label, and monetary
filing the complaint, plaintiff has been placed on
transitional release by the Kansas District Court. (Doc. 24,
at 10.) Transitional release allows individuals in the SPTP
to begin community reintegration. (Doc. 22, at 3.) To achieve
reintegration, individuals relocate to a halfway house, work
release, sexually violent predator treatment facility, or
other similar placement. (Id.)
argue that plaintiff's claims are moot due to his
transitional release. But plaintiff responds that a
transitional release is not the full release he seeks and it
does not relieve defendants of liability for violating
federal rights. (Doc. 26, at 2.) In the alternative,
defendants move for a more definite statement for the
original pleading in Document 1.
Pro Se Pleadings
plaintiff proceeds pro se, the court must construe his pro se
filed documents liberally. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Even if drafted inartfully, a pro se
pleading is held to a less stringent standard than
lawyer-drafted pleadings. Id. If a court could
reasonably read the pleadings to find a claim on which
plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, regardless of
confusion of legal theories, poor grammar, unfamiliarity with
pleading requirements, or failure to cite proper legal
authority. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110
(10th Cir. 1991). The court should not, however, assume the
role of advocate for the litigant. Id.
Mootness - Rule 12(b)(1)
argue this court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), because plaintiff's claims are
moot. Mootness is a threshold inquiry “because the
existence of a live case or controversy is a constitutional
prerequisite to the jurisdiction of the federal
courts.” United States v. Fisher, 805 F.3d
982, 989 (10th Cir. 2015) (quoting In re L.F. Jennings
Oil Co., 4 F.3d 887, 889 (10th Cir. 1993)). To maintain
the case or controversy requirement, litigants must have a
personal stake in the lawsuit and its outcome. Id. A
litigant lacks a personal stake if the injury is healed by an
event or only prospective relief is sought. S. Utah
Wilderness Alliance v. Smith, 110 F.3d 724, 727 (10th
Cir. 1997). The essential question to ask is: “have
circumstances changed since the beginning of litigation that
forestall any occasion for meaningful relief?”
Id. If this has occurred, the case is moot.
Brown v. Buhman, 822 F.3d 1151, 1166 (10th Cir.
2016) (citation omitted); Alexander v. Yale Univ.,
632 F.2d 178, 183 (2d Cir. 1980).
Motion for a More Definite Statement - Rules 12(e), 8(a)(2),
pro se pleadings being held to a liberal standard, pro se
filings must still follow the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Williamson v. Owners Resort & Exch.,
90 Fed.Appx. 342, 345 (10th Cir. 2004). Under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, a party is entitled to a more
definite statement if the statement is “so vague or
ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a
response.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). A complaint must be a
“short and plain statement of the claim, ” which
gives defendant fair notice of plaintiff's claims.
Id. at 8(a)(2); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
255 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). When a party moves for a more
definite statement, the moving party must “point out
the defects complained of ...