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Reames v. LA Dept. of Public Safety & Corrections

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

January 31, 2019

DAVID LEE REAMES
v.
LA DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY & CORRECTIONS, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE

         Plaintiff David Lee Reames, a prisoner at Ouachita Correctional Center proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant proceeding on December 1');">17, 201');">18, under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. He names Judge Benjamin Jones and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (“DPSC”) as defendants.[1');">1" name="FN1');">1" id= "FN1');">1">1');">1] For the following reasons, Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that, on September 1');">12, 201');">12, Defendant, Judge Benjamin Jones, sentenced him to three concurrent sentences. [doc. # 1');">1, p. 3]. However, Plaintiff claims that the DPSC confined him under three consecutive sentences. Id. Plaintiff faults Judge Jones for denying his motions to correct the alleged error. Id. Plaintiff wants Defendants to “pay [him] for all this illegal time [he has served] in prison.” Id. at 4.

         Law and Analysis 1');">1. Preliminary Screening

         Plaintiff is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, his complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1');">191');">15A.[2] See Martin v. Scott, 1');">156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1');">1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his Complaint is also subject to screening under § 1');">191');">15(e)(2). Both § 1');">191');">15(e)(2)(B) and § 1');">191');">15A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         A complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 1');">19');">490 U.S. 31');">19, 325 (1');">1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at 327. Courts are also afforded the unusual power to pierce the veil of the factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id.

         A complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted when it fails to 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); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is facially plausible when it contains sufficient factual content for the court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Plausibility does not equate to possibility or probability; it lies somewhere in between. Id. Plausibility simply calls for enough factual allegations to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence to support the elements of the claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         Assessing whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, supra. A well-pled complaint may proceed even if it strikes the court that actual proof of the asserted facts is improbable and that recovery is unlikely. Twombly, supra.

         Likewise, a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted if it appears that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proven consistent with the allegations of the complaint. In making this determination, the court must assume that all of the plaintiff's factual allegations are true. Bradley v. Puckett, 1');">157 F.3d 1');">1022, 1');">1025 (5th Cir. 1');">1998). However, the same presumption does not extend to legal conclusions. Iqbal, supra. A pleading comprised of “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” does not satisfy Rule 8. Id. “[P]laintiffs must allege facts that support the elements of the cause of action in order to make out a valid claim.” City of Clinton, Ark. v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp, 1');">148');">632 F.3d 1');">148, 1');">152-53 (5th Cir. 201');">10). Courts are “not free to speculate that the plaintiff ‘might' be able to state a claim if given yet another opportunity to add more facts to the complaint.” Macias v. Raul A. (Unknown) Badge No. 1');">153, 23 F.3d 94, 97 (5th Cir. 1');">1994).

         A hearing need not be conducted for every pro se complaint. Wilson v. Barrientos, 926 F.2d 480, 483 n.4 (5th Cir. 1');">1991');">1). A district court may dismiss a prisoner's civil rights complaint as frivolous based upon the complaint and exhibits alone. Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1');">11');">11');">16, 1');">11');">120 (5th Cir. 1');">1986).

         “To state a section 1');">1983 claim, a plaintiff must (1');">1) allege a violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and (2) demonstrate that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” Whitley v. Hanna, 1');">1');">726 F.3d 631');">1, 638 (5th Cir. 201');">13) (internal quotation marks omitted). Consistent with the standard above, a “[S]ection 1');">1983 complaint must state ...


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