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Cameron v. Anderson

United States District Court, N.D Iowa, Central Division

March 24, 2014



DONALD E. O'BRIEN, Senior Judge.


This matter is before the Court on Jamesen Jhon Cameron's (hereinafter Mr. Cameron) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint against Karen Anderson and Jana Hacker, filed February 11, 2014. Docket No. 1. In his Complaint, Mr. Cameron alleges that he has received ineffective medical care for his feet while at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility. On February 19, 2014, the Court entered an Initial Review Order (IRO) stating that Mr. Cameron had failed to pay the filing fee or file a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. Docket No. 2. The Court gave Mr. Cameron 45 days to either pay the fee or file a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. On March 6, 2014, Mr. Cameron filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis along with a Motion to Appoint Counsel. Docket Nos. 3 and 4.


The filing fee for a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is $350.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). In forma pauperis status allows a plaintiff to proceed without incurring filing fees or other court costs. In order to qualify for in forma pauperis status, a plaintiff must provide this Court an affidavit[1] with the following statements: (1) statement of the nature of the action, (2) statement that plaintiff is entitled to redress, (3) statement of the assets plaintiff possesses, and (4) statement that plaintiff is unable to pay filing fees and court costs or give security therefor. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).[2] Prisoners must also meet an additional requirement: they must submit a certified copy of their prisoner trust fund account statement for a 6-month period prior to the filing of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).

Mr. Cameron's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis substantially complies with the requirements laid out above. Therefore, Plaintiff's Pro Se Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis is granted and the filed Complaint is allowed to proceed without collection of a filing fee. The Clerk of Court shall deliver a copy of this Order and copies of the Local Rules to Fort Dodge Correctional Facility care of the Plaintiff. The Clerk of Court shall also deliver, by certified mail, copies of this Order and attached waiver of service of summons, along with copies of the Complaint (Docket No. 1) to each of the named Defendants, and to the Iowa Attorney General.

However, once any portion of a filing fee is waived, a court must dismiss the case if a Plaintiff's allegations of poverty prove untrue or the action in question turns out to be 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).


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Pro se complaints, no matter how "inartfully pleaded are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings as drafted by a lawyer." Hughes v. Rowe , 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980) (internal citations omitted).

Although it is a long-standing maxim that a complaint's factual allegations are to be accepted as true at the early stages of a proceeding, this does not require that a court must entertain any complaint no matter how implausible. The facts pled "must [still] be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level...." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In other words, the claim to relief must be "plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A claim is only plausible if a plaintiff pleads "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Where the complaint does "not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief." Id. at 1950 (citing Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2)). In addition, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Id. at 1949.

42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, 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 party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress....


In his Complaint, Mr. Cameron alleges he has received deficient medical treatment.


In his Complaint, Docket No. 1, Mr. Cameron alleges that the above named Defendants have completely ignored his reports that he is suffering from severe pain in his feet. As the Courts have repeatedly stated:

[t]he Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. "[T]he treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment." Helling v. McKinney , 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993). To prevail on an Eighth Amendment claim for deprivation of medical care, an inmate must show that the prison official was deliberately indifferent to the inmate's serious medical needs. Coleman v. Rahija , 114 F.3d 778, 784 (8th Cir. 1997). This requires a two-part showing that (1) the inmate suffered from an objectively serious medical need, and (2) the prison official knew of the need yet deliberately disregarded it. Id .; see also Farmer v. Brennan , 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994); Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976). A serious medical need is "one that has been diagnosed by a physician as requiring treatment, or one that is so obvious that even a layperson would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention." Camberos v. Branstad , 73 F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995). A medical need that would be obvious to a layperson makes verifying medical evidence unnecessary. Hartsfield v. Colburn , 371 F.3d 454, 457 (8th Cir. 2004).

Schaub v. VonWald , 638 F.3d 905, 914 (8th Cir. 2011).

Mr. Cameron's pro se Complaint amounts to an allegation that the Defendants have been deliberately indifferent. Accepting Mr. Cameron's allegations as true, it is clear he has alleged a violation that may be actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claim will be allowed to proceed past the initial review stage.


Mr. Cameron also filed an application to have counsel appointed. Docket No. 4. Under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(1) "[t]he court may request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel." As discussed above, the Court is granting Mr. Cameron's application to proceed in forma pauperis. It is clear that he does not have the funds to afford counsel. Accordingly, the Court hereby appoints attorney Hannah Vellinga under Library Fund Administrative Order No. 13-AO-0009. After consulting with the Plaintiff regarding the nature of the alleged claim, appointed counsel will file an Amended Complaint specifically setting out the Plaintiff's legally viable claims within 45 days.


Plaintiff's pro se Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, Docket No. 4, is granted. Plaintiff's pro se Complaint shall proceed as filed past the initial review stage without the collection of a filing fee. Additionally, the Plaintiff's pro se Motion to Appoint Counsel is granted. Appointed counsel will have 45 days to file an Amended Complaint.


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