United States District Court, D. Kansas
MICHAEL A. WOOTEN, Plaintiff,
JOHNSON COUNTY ADULT DETENTION CENTER, et al., Defendants.
Crow, U.S. Senior District Judge.
pro se civil rights action was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 by a pre-trial detainee confined at the Johnson
County Adult Detention Center in New Century, Kansas.
Plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis and alleges that
constitutional violations occurred during his pre-trial
confinement. He brings suit against the Johnson County Adult
Detention Center and the Johnson County Sheriff's
Department and seeks removal from segregation and unspecified
Allegations in the Complaint
alleges that beginning November 28, 2017,  he was placed in
administrative segregation, where he has remained for at
least 94 days. He states that he has filed at least six
grievances making classification and housing requests.
Plaintiff alleges that some of his grievances have gone
unanswered, and that the last response he received denied his
request and stated that “the priviledges [sic] you
have, you earned while in general population.”
Screening Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
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).
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
considered plaintiff's allegations, the court finds that
the complaint is subject to dismissal because it appears that
plaintiff has not exhausted administrative remedies. Under 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(a), “a prisoner must exhaust his
administrative remedies prior to filing a lawsuit regarding
prison conditions in federal court.” Id. This
exhaustion requirement “is mandatory, and the district
court [is] not authorized to dispense with it.”
Beaudry v. Corrections Corp. of Am., 331 F.3d 1164,
1167 n. 5 (10th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1118
(2004); Little v. Jones, 607 F.3d 1245, 1249 (10th
Cir. 2010). Plaintiff alleges that he filed multiple
grievances addressing his administrative segregation
classification, but he provides no evidence or information
that he complied with all of the steps of the facility's
grievance procedure. Beginning the grievance process is
insufficient - the inmate must complete it. Brooks v.
Johnson, 307 Fed.Appx. 247, 249 (10th Cir.,
2009). Plaintiff's complaint is therefore subject to
dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.