United States District Court, D. Kansas
HENRY D. MCKNIGHT, JR., Plaintiff,
FNU GOODMAN, and FNU UHLRIG, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
Crow U.S. Senior District Judge
Henry D. McKnight, Jr., is hereby required to show good
cause, in writing, to the Honorable Sam A. Crow, United
States District Judge, why this case should not be dismissed
due to the deficiencies in Plaintiff's Complaint that are
Nature of the Matter before the Court
brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court granted Plaintiff leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee
housed at the Shawnee County Jail in Topeka, Kansas.
Plaintiff alleges the following in his Complaint. On December
24, 2016, at around 4:00 am, Defendants Goodman and Uhlrig,
officers with the Topeka Police Department, drove up and
observed Plaintiff sleeping outside the front door of
Paisano's Restaurant in Topeka, Kansas. Before exiting
their cars, the officers left to respond to another call.
Plaintiff alleges that they returned at 4:29 am, woke
Plaintiff and illegally searched and frisked him in violation
of his Fourth Amendment rights. In his request for relief,
Plaintiff seeks to have his criminal case dismissed and
monetary damages between “a billion to a million and a
half dollars for every day [he's] spent in jail.”
(Doc. 1, at 5.)
Statutory 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 a complaint or portion
thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally
frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
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). A court 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).
se litigant's “conclusory allegations without
supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a
claim upon which relief can be based.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).
“[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief'
requires “more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations
omitted). The complaint's “factual allegations must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 555, 570.
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained “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, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir.
2007). The 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).
Tenth Circuit has pointed out that the Supreme Court's
decisions in Twombly and Erickson gave rise
to a new standard of review for § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
dismissals. 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). 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). “Plausible” in
this context does not mean “likely to be true, ”
but rather refers “to the scope of the allegations in a
complaint: if they are so general that they encompass a wide
swath of conduct, much of it innocent, ” then the
plaintiff has not “nudged [his] claims across the line
from conceivable to plausible.” Robbins v.
Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing
Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1974).
claims in Plaintiff's Complaint were the subject of a
Motion to Suppress in Plaintiff's criminal case. See
United States v. McKnight, No. 17-cr-40020-DDC-1, Doc.
15 (D. Kan.).
an evidentiary hearing, the Court entered a Memorandum and
Order (Doc. 32) denying the Motion to Suppress. The Court
found that the search and seizure did not violate the Fourth
Amendment. Id. at Doc. 32. The docket in
Plaintiff's criminal case reflects that he pleaded guilty
in that case on January 11, 2018. See Docs 45, 46.
Court's ruling on the motion to suppress may require the
application of collateral estoppel upon final adjudication.
“Collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion, is available
in actions under § 1983.” Williams v.
Henderson, 626 Fed.Appx. 761, 763 (10th Cir. 2015)
(unpublished) (citing Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90
(1980)). “The doctrine applies when (1) the issue
previously decided is identical with the one presented in the
current action; (2) the prior action was finally adjudicated
on the merits; (3) the party against whom the doctrine is
invoked was a party or in privity with a party to the prior
litigation, and (4) the party against whom the doctrine is
invoked had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue
in the prior action.” Id. (citing Moss v.
Kopp, 559 F.3d 1155, 1161 (10th Cir. 2009)); see
Sibert v. Phelan, 901 F.Supp. 183, 187 (D.N.J. 1995)
(finding issue preclusion appropriate where judge previously
decided issue on suppression motion); see also Searing v.
Hayes, 684 F.2d 694 (10th Cir. 1982); see ...