United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Crow, U.S. District Senior Judge.
plaintiff Caleb Kanatzar, a pretrial detainee at the Shawnee
County Department of Corrections (“SCDC”), in
Topeka, Kansas, has submitted a 29-page complaint for relief
alleging 10 claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and naming as
defendants, Brian Cole, as director of SCDC; Timothy Phelps,
an SCDC officer; Captain Rucker, an SCDC officer; and Mary
Fletcher, a food services supervisor at SCDC. ECF# 1. The
plaintiff's claims read like a summary of isolated
administrative grievances against SCDC officials ranging from
the lack of regular outdoor time and exercise equipment to
dirty meal trays and the denial of properly prepared kosher
meals. For this reason, the plaintiff's pleadings are
largely deficient in alleging constitutional violations and
require the court to screen not only the current claims but
also the plaintiff's possible amended claims. The
screening standards are set out below followed by a
discussion of the relevant counts.
Screening of Prisoner Complaints
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). The Court must dismiss the entire complaint or any
part of it, “if the complaint . . . is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted; or . . . seeks monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the
violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation
was committed by a person acting under color of state
law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988)
(citations omitted); Northington v. Jackson, 973
F.2d 1518, 1523 (10th Cir. 1992). In addressing a claim
brought under § 1983, the analysis begins by identifying
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989). The
validity of the claim then must be judged by reference to the
specific constitutional standard which governs that right.
liberally construes a pro se complaint and applies
“less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007). In addition, the court accepts all well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true. Anderson v.
Blake, 469 F.3d 910, 913 (10th Cir. 2006). On the other
hand, “when the allegations in a complaint, however
true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief,
” dismissal is appropriate. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007).
court “will not supply additional factual allegations
to round out a plaintiff's complaint or construct a legal
theory on a plaintiff's behalf.” Whitney v. New
Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997)
(citation omitted). The same standard used for Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) motions is used for § 1915 dismissals, and this
includes the newer language and meaning taken from
Twombly and its “plausibility”
determination. See Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1218
(10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); see also Smith v.
United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009),
cert. denied, 558 U.S. 1148 (2010). As a result,
courts “look to the specific allegations in the
complaint to determine whether they plausibly support a legal
claim for relief.” Kay, 500 F.3d at 1218
(citation omitted). Under this new standard, “a
plaintiff must ‘nudge his claims across the line from
conceivable to plausible.'” Smith, 561
F.3d at 1098 (citation omitted). The Tenth Circuit has made
clear, “that, to state a claim in federal court, a
complaint must explain what each defendant did to [the pro se
plaintiff]; when the defendant did it; how the
defendant's action harmed [the plaintiff]; and what
specific legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant
violated.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents,
at Arapahoe County Justice Center, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163
(10th Cir. 2007).
plaintiff has filed a five-page motion to amend complaint
which alleges three additional claims for relief. ECF# 5.
Though the plaintiff is entitled to amend his complaint once
without leave of the court, the plaintiff's motion to
amend is not a complete amended complaint. The plaintiff may
not amend his complaint by simply submitting papers with
additional claims and allegations as done here. To add claims
or significant claims, the plaintiff must prepare and submit
a complete amended complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
Rule 15. The amended complaint must be complete as it
supersedes the original complaint. Therefore, it must include
all parties, claims and factual allegations that the
plaintiff intends to present, including those he wants to
retain from the original complaint. The plaintiff may not
simply refer to the original complaint. The plaintiff is
hereby admonished that claims and allegations omitted from
the amended complaint will be regarded as no longer before
the court. To comply with the local court rule, the Amended
Complaint must be submitted upon court-approved forms.
plaintiff will be given thirty days to file a complete
amended complaint upon proper forms that contains all of his
claims and factual allegations. This amended complaint also
should address all of the pleading deficiencies addressed in
this order omitting those claims which the plaintiff no
longer wishes to pursue or which the court has otherwise
dismissed in this order.
Damages Claim for Relief
plaintiff's complaints principally seek injunctive
relief, but his original complaint included a claim for
damages to compensate for “pain, sickness and mental
anguish.” ECF# 1, p. 19. Federal law prohibits
prisoners from bringing federal actions “for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e).
Section 1997e(e) . . . provides in pertinent part: “No
Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in
a jail, prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury.” Id. In
Searles v. Van Bebber, 251 F.3d 869 (10th Cir.
2001), cert. denied, 536 U.S. 904 (2002), the Tenth
Circuit specifically held that the “Limitation on
Recovery” set forth in § 1997e(e) applied to a
First Amendment claim that prison officials denied the
plaintiff a Kosher diet and to claims for actual or
compensatory damages. Id. at 879, 881; see also
Sisney v. Reisch, 674 F.3d 839, 843 (8th Cir.),
cert. denied, 568 U.S. 934 (2012). The
plaintiff's complaint fails to allege any facts to
support a cognizable claim for damages. There are no
allegations to indicate the defendants' actions caused
the plaintiff to sustain a physical injury. Thus, the
plaintiff has no claim for damages absent the allegation of
additional facts to support the same.
Participation of Defendants
is clear in this circuit:
“Individual liability under § 1983 must be based
on personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
violation.” Foote v. Spiegel, 118 F.3d 1416,
1423 (10th Cir. 1997). Supervisory status alone does not
create § 1983 liability. Duffield v. Jackson,
545 F.3d 1234, 1239 (10th Cir. 2008). Rather, there must be
“an affirmative link ... between the constitutional
deprivation and either the supervisor's personal
participation, his exercise of control or direction, or his
failure to supervise.” Green v. Branson, 108
F.3d 1296, 1302 (10th Cir.1997) (quotation and brackets
Gallagher v. Shelton, 587 F.3d 1063, 1069 (10th Cir.
2009). Thus, a general allegation that a grievance was
denied, “by itself without any connection to the
violation of constitutional rights alleged by plaintiff, does
not establish personal participation under §
1983.” Id. (citations omitted). The allegation
that the defendant failed to approve or denied a request may
be sufficient. Id. at 1070. Absent such allegations
of personal ...