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Gray v. Burt

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

March 11, 2014

ANTONIO VINCENT GRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY BURT, Defendant.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The matter before the court is an order dated November 27, 2012 (docket no. 11). Pursuant to such order, the court directed the plaintiff to submit an initial partial payment of the filing fee and monthly payments thereafter. The plaintiff only complied with the court's former directive. Namely, the plaintiff submitted an initial partial payment of the filing fee and one monthly payment. However, since making one monthly payment in March of 2013, the plaintiff took no steps to make certain that he submitted monthly payments thereafter. Because he has failed to make additional monthly payments, it is appropriate to dismiss the plaintiff's action. Despite the plaintiff's failure to comply with the court's directive, the court deems it appropriate to review the merits of the plaintiff's complaint and supplement.[1]

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A pro se complaint must be liberally construed. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); Smith v. St. Bernards Reg'l Med. Ctr., 19 F.3d 1254, 1255 (8th Cir. 1994). In addition, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless, they must be weighed in favor of the plaintiff. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). A court, however, can dismiss at any time a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). A claim is "frivolous" if it "lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); accord Cokeley v. Endell, 27 F.3d 331, 332 (8th Cir. 1994). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Accordingly, a court may review the complaint and dismiss sua sponte those claims that fail "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level....'", see Parkhurst v. Tabor, 569 F.3d 861, 865 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555), or that are premised on meritless legal theories or clearly lack any factual basis, see Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325. See, e.g., Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. at 27 (considering frivolousness); Myers v. Vogal, 960 F.2d 750, 751 (8th Cir. 1992) (concluding that a district court may dismiss an action if an affirmative defense exists).

III. CLAIMS ASSERTED

The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, submitted a complaint to redress issues that are related to his confinement at the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Anamosa, Iowa. Jurisdiction appears to be predicated on 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), venue appears to be proper as the events giving rise to the instant action occurred in this district and the defendant is located in this district.

In the statement of claim portion of the complaint (docket no. 1), the plaintiff indicates the following:

I was a resident of the Anamosa mens' reformatory on 2-19-11. The defendant, Warden Jerry Burt, knew that inmate Deron Humes was a violent person and, on 2-19-11, Deron Humes assaulted me without a reason for doing so. Such assault caused me permanent injury that did and does cause a lot of pain and suffering. I had to have a cadaver bone and plate put into my neck (a spinal fusion). The defendant, Warden Jerry Burt is required by law to provide a safe environment for me and he did not ensure that I was safe. He is responsible for my safety because I am under his care and supervision. I now have limited mobility, loss of coordination, nerve damage and pain and suffering.

In his supplement (docket no. 13), the plaintiff states that he is dissatisfied with the medical staff of the Clarinda Correction Facility because they opened mail that the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics sent to him. In addition, the plaintiff submitted with his supplement several exhibits, including but not limited to his medical records that the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics sent to him. As relief, the plaintiff states that he wants $1, 000, 000 in punitive damages, $1, 000, 000 for mental anguish, $1, 000, 000 for declaratory relief and whatever else is deemed appropriate.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides, in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory..., subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the ...

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