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Milton v. Smith

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

April 10, 2019


         SECTION P




         Plaintiff Kenneth Keith Milton, a prisoner at Tensas Parish Detention Center proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant proceeding on February 2');">20, 2');">201');">1');">1');">19, under 42');">2 U.S.C. § 1');">1');">1');">1983. He names Warden Pat Smith, Corporal Marsh, Major Johnson, and Ms. Book as Defendants.[1');">1');">1');">1" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1">1');">1');">1');">1] For the following reasons, Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed.


         Plaintiff alleges that, although he has been eligible for work release since November 2');">28, 2');">201');">1');">1');">16, Defendants refuse to approve him for work release because he once pled guilty to “aggravated misdemeanor sex . . . in 1');">1');">1');">1998” and is now considered a sex offender. [doc. # 1');">1');">1');">1, pp. 3-4]. Plaintiff asked Corporal Marsh and Major Johnson about securing a work release position, and both responded, “Inside Job Only, ” presumably meaning that Plaintiff could work only within the facility. [doc. #s 1');">1');">1');">1, pp. 3-4; 9-1');">1');">1');">1, 2');">2');">p. 2');">2]. Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Book, who taught “good time classes, ” informed him that sex offenders are not eligible for work release. [doc. # 1');">1');">1');">1, p. 5]. Defendants, according to Plaintiff, have denied him due process. Id. at 3.

         Plaintiff also claims, tacitly, that Defendants denied him due process by refusing to place him in more than one rehabilitation, reentry, or “good time class[].” [doc. #s 1');">1');">1');">1, pp. 3-5; 1');">1');">1');">1-2');">2, 2');">2');">p. 2');">2].

         Plaintiff further suggests that, by refusing to approve him for work release, Defendants violated his right to equal protection. [doc. #s 1');">1');">1');">1, p. 3; 1');">1');">1');">1-2');">2, p. 1');">1');">1');">1]. Defendants have allegedly treated him unfairly because, although he is a sex offender, he was convicted over twenty years ago in Iowa, he accepted a plea bargain, his sex crime was a misdemeanor, he has not committed another sex crime, and other prisoners who secured work release have lengthier sentences than Plaintiff and have committed both sex crimes and crimes more severe than the crime to which he pled guilty. [doc. #s 1');">1');">1');">1, p. 6; 1');">1');">1');">1-2');">2, 2');">2');">p. 2');">2]. He maintains that Defendants are discriminating against him and “all sex offenders . . . .” [doc. # 1');">1');">1');">1-2');">2, p. 1');">1');">1');">1]. He attaches a letter he received from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (“DPSC”), in which the DPSC informed him that he was “denied work release due to criminal history.” [doc. # 9-1');">1');">1');">1, p. 1');">1');">1');">1].

         Plaintiff asks the Court to order Defendants to approve him for both work release and two classes or, in the alternative, to award $1');">1');">1');">150, 000.00. Id. at 7.

         Law and Analysis

         1');">1');">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 2');">28 U.S.C. § 1');">1');">1');">191');">1');">1');">15A.[2');">2" name="FN2');">2" id= "FN2');">2">2');">2] See Martin v. Scott, 1');">1');">1');">156 F.3d 578, 579- 80 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his Complaint is also subject to screening under § 1');">1');">1');">191');">1');">1');">15(e)(2');">2). Both § 1');">1');">1');">191');">1');">1');">15(e)(2');">2)(B) and § 1');">1');">1');">191');">1');">1');">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 on 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');">1');">1');">19');">490 U.S. 31');">1');">1');">19, 32');">25 (1');">1');">1');">1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at 32');">27. 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 (2');">2007); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 2');">2');">556 U.S. 662');">2, 678 (2');">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');">1');">1');">157 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">102');">22');">2, 1');">1');">1');">102');">25 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">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, 2');">2 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">148');">632');">2 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">148, 1');">1');">1');">152');">2-53 (5th Cir. 2');">201');">1');">1');">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');">1');">1');">153, 2');">23 F.3d 94');">2');">23 F.3d 94, 97 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1994).

         A hearing need not be conducted for every pro se complaint. Wilson v. Barrientos, 2');">26 F.2');">2d 480');">92');">26 F.2');">2d 480, 483 n.4 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1991');">1');">1');">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.2');">2d 1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">16, 1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">12');">20 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1986).

         “To state a section 1');">1');">1');">1983 claim, a plaintiff must (1');">1');">1');">1) allege a violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and (2');">2) demonstrate that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” Whitley v. Hanna, 2');">26 F.3d 631');">1');">1');">1');">72');">26 F.3d 631');">1');">1');">1, 638 (5th Cir. 2');">201');">1');">1');">13) (internal quotation marks omitted). Consistent with the standard above, a “[S]ection 1');">1');">1');">1983 complaint must state specific facts, not simply legal and constitutional conclusions.” Fee v. Herndon, 2');">2d 804');">900 F.2');">2d 804, 807 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1990).

         2');">2. ...

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