United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
CROW U.S. Senior District Judge
Antwan Crosby, a pretrial detainee at the Wyandotte County
Detention Center (WCDC) in Kansas City, Kansas, brings this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis.
For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff is ordered to show
cause why his Complaint should not be dismissed.
Nature of the Matter before the Court
Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) raises various claims
about the conditions at WCDC. Mr. Crosby states inmates are
served food on trays that have mold on them, ceiling vents
are “unclean”, and the showers are
“unfit.” Plaintiff also alleges staff members
were not doing their jobs in connection with an inmate that
died in August of 2018. Finally, Plaintiff complains that the
canteen engages in false advertisement and collects taxes on
items it sells, medical personnel charge $5.00 to see
inmates, inmates can only mail one-page letters, and inmates
are charged for soap when it should be given to them.
Plaintiff names three defendants, Wyandotte County, the
sheriff, and the undersheriff. Mr. Crosby does not state what
constitutional rights he believes have been violated. He
seeks damages of $25 million.
Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of such entity to determine whether summary
dismissal is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
Additionally, with any litigant, such as Plaintiff, who is
proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court has a duty to screen
the complaint to determine its sufficiency. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Upon completion of this screening,
the Court must dismiss any claim that is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary damages 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). 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
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), “a prisoner must exhaust his
administrative remedies prior to filing a lawsuit regarding
prison conditions in federal court.” Little v.
Jones, 607 F.3d 1245, 1249 (10th Cir. 2010)
(citations omitted). 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,
607 F.3d at 1249. A prison or prison system's regulations
define the steps a prisoner must take to properly exhaust
administrative remedies, and a prisoner “may only
exhaust by following all of the steps laid out”
therein. Little, 607 F.3d at 1249 (citing
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006)). An
“inmate who begins the grievance process but does not
complete it is barred from pursuing a § 1983 claim under
the PLRA for failure to exhaust his administrative
remedies.” Jernigan v. Stuchell, 304 F.3d
1030, 1032 (10th Cir. 2002).
indicated on his Complaint that he has not sought
administrative relief. (ECF No. 1, at 5.) He does attach to
his Complaint what appears to be a grievance complaining
about the dirty vents and “nasty shower heads, ”
indicating he at least began the process of exhausting as to