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Hughes v. Robinson

United States District Court, D. Kansas

May 25, 2018

CHARLEY HUGHES, Plaintiff,
v.
TROY ROBINSON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW

          Sam A. Crow U.S. Senior District Judge

         Plaintiff Charley Hughes 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 discussed herein.

         I. Nature of the Matter before the Court

         Plaintiff alleges that the following occurred while he was an inmate at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Hutchinson, Kansas (“HCF”). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants conspired to deem the NABPP (“New Afrikan Black Panther Party”) a security threat group (“STG”). Plaintiff alleges that he, along with several other inmates, was taken to segregation on July 24, 2017, under investigation for STG activities. Plaintiff alleges that the inmates marched into the building in a military fashion, putting their fist in the air while stating: “Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win! All Power to the People! By any Means Necessary!” The inmates were released back to general population a week later, and received write-ups from Defendant Robinson for the marching incident.

         Plaintiff alleges that on August 9, 2017, the inmates' cells were searched by Defendant Robinson and an unknown SST member. All of Plaintiff's political books and other literature were confiscated and deemed STG material.

         Plaintiff alleges that the inmates were found guilty by the hearing officer and returned to segregation. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Schnurr conspired with Defendant Robinson, and Defendant Nickles failed to prevent the wrongs allegedly committed by Robinson. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Norwood denied Plaintiff's DR appeal.

         Plaintiff seeks $50, 000 in compensatory damages, $5, 000 in punitive damages, and a preliminary injunction allowing the NABPP to function as a political/social organization without being labeled an STG. Plaintiff names as Defendants: Troy Robinson, EAI at HCF; Dan Schnurr, HCF Warden; Mike Nickles, UTM at HCF; and Joe Norwood, Secretary of Corrections, KDOC. Plaintiff sues all Defendants in their individual capacities.

         II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

         The 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. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).

         “To 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).

         A pro 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.

         The 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).

         The 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).

         III. ...


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