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Lillard v. Campbell

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

May 19, 2015

JAMES ALANDIES LILLARD, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK CAMPBELL, SIOUX CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, HEATHER ALBRECHT, JASON FLECKENSTEIN, BRUCE HOKEL, MULLER, Defendants.

ORDER

MARK W. BENNETT, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (docket no. 2). The plaintiff filed such application on December 3, 2014. Prior to submitting his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the plaintiff submitted a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (docket no. 1), which the clerk's office filed on November 26, 2014.

I. IN FORMA PAUPERIS UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915

Based on the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, the court concludes that the plaintiff is indigent. Thus, in forma pauperis status shall be granted to the plaintiff. See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Because the plaintiff already paid the required $400.00 filing fee, there is no need for the plaintiff to make payments on an installment basis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); see also In re Tyler, 110 F.3d 528, 529-30 (8th Cir. 1997) ("[T]he [Prisoner Litigation Reform Act] makes prisoners responsible for their filing fees the moment the prisoner brings a civil action or files an appeal.").

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. CLAIM ASSERTED

Currently confined at the Woodbury County Jail in Sioux City, Iowa, the plaintiff, proceeding pro se, submitted a complaint to redress issues that are related to his arrest and confinement. Jurisdiction is 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 defendants are located in this district.

The statement of claim portion of the complaint is as follows:

[Officers of the Sioux City Police Department, that is, Heather Albrecht, Jason Fleckenstein, Bruce Hokel and Muller, ] on or about March 14, 2008, arrested and charged me with attempted murder. I was wrongfully imprisoned from [March 14, 2008 to July 15, 2008]. I lost my job, place of residence and [the ability to be with] my wife, and kids and family. I have a new case that I'm currently fighting in the Northern District of Iowa and Officer Heather Albrecht of the Sioux City Police Department is still... harassing [me] and slandering my name [by] bringing up that case in court, even though I was acquitted of all charges. She is violating my 6th Amendment.

As relief, the plaintiff states that he wants: (1) monetary compensation for pain and suffering that he experienced as a result of losing his job and place of residence and for false imprisonment from March 14, 2008 to July 15, 2008, and (2) Heather Albrecht to be suspended and/or fired.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides, in ...


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