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Polk v. Labette County Jail

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 22, 2019

LANGSTON WAYNE POLK, Plaintiff,
v.
LABETTE COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.

          ORDER

          SAM A. CROW U.S. DISTRICT SENIOR JUDGE

         Plaintiff has filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He is a prisoner at the Labette County Jail (LCJ). This case is before the Court to screen plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         I. Pro se standards

         “A pro se litigant's pleadings are to be construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). A pro se litigant, however, is not relieved from following the same rules of procedure as any other litigant. See Green v. Dorrell, 969 F.2d 915, 917 (10th Cir. 1992). A district court should not “assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant.” Hall, supra. Nor is the Court to “supply additional factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint.” Whitney v. State of New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997).

         II. Screening standards

         Title 28 United State Code Section 1915A requires the Court to review cases filed by prisoners seeking redress from a governmental entity or employee to determine whether the complaint is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. When deciding whether plaintiff's complaint “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” the Court must determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Id. A complaint does not “suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement” or “mere conclusory statements.” Id. (internal quotations omitted). The Court accepts the plaintiff's well-pled factual allegations as true and views them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. United States v. Smith, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009).

         To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege 1) the deprivation of a federal protected right by 2) a person or entity acting under color of state law. Schaffer v. Salt Lake City Corp., 814 F.3d 1151, 1155 (10th Cir. 2016). The Court will not accept broad allegations which lack sufficient detail to give fair notice of what plaintiff's claims are. Section 1983 plaintiffs must “make clear exactly who is alleged to have done what to whom, to provide each individual with fair notice as to the basis of the claims against him or her, as distinguished from collective allegations.” Robbins v. Oklahoma ex rel. Dep't of Human Servs., 519 F.3d 1242, 1250 (10th Cir. 2008).

         III. The complaint

         The complaint contains little factual elaboration. Plaintiff alleges that his private calls with his attorney are being recorded and that LCJ is holding his incoming and outgoing mail. The court notes that plaintiff's complaint was mailed to the court from LCJ.

         The complaint asks that procedures involving his phone calls and mail be changed.

         IV. LCJ is not a proper defendant.

         This court has held that a county detention center, which does not have the authority to sue or be sued, is not a “person” that may be sued for violations of § 1983. See Gray v. Kufahl, 2016 WL 4613394 *4 (D.Kan. 9/6/2016)(Lyon County Detention Center is not a suable entity); Baker v. Sedgwick County Jail, 2012 WL 5289677 *2 n.3 (D.Kan. 10/24/2012)(Sedgwick County Jail is not a suable entity under § 1983); Chubb v. Sedgwick County Jail, 2009 WL 634711 *1 (D.Kan. 3/11/2009)(same); Howard v. Douglas CountyJail, 2009 WL 1504733 *3 (D.Kan. 5/28/2009)(Douglas County Jail is not a “person” subject to suit under § 1983). Therefore, plaintiff's claims against the LCJ should be dismissed. The Sheriff of Labette County or the Labette County Board of Commissioners have the authority to sue or be sued and might be a more proper defendant in this matter if plaintiff alleges facts showing that either entity is responsible for the actions which have allegedly violated plaintiff's rights. A defendant in a § 1983 action ...


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