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VanBuren v. Walker

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

October 4, 2019

JOSHUA JAMICHAEL VANBUREN
v.
DOUG WALKER, ET AL.

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Karen L. Hayes United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Joshua Jamichael VanBuren, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant proceeding on August 30, 201');">19, under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. He names the following defendants: Assistant District Attorney Doug Walker, Assistant District Attorney Daniel Hunter, Officer Jody Ledoux, District Attorney Nick Anderson, and Officer Paul Blunschi.[1');">1" name="FN1');">1" id= "FN1');">1">1');">1] For reasons that follow, the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's claims.

         Background

         Plaintiff claims that, on May 1');">19, 201');">14, Officer Jody Ledoux arrested him without probable cause. [doc. # 1');">1, p. 7].

         Plaintiff claims that, on July 1');">18, 201');">14, District Attorney Nick Anderson filed a bill of information against him without probable cause. Id.

         Plaintiff claims that, on March 1');">16, 201');">16, Assistant District Attorney Doug Walker placed him on “pre-trial diversion . . . without probable cause . . . .” Id. at 4. On March 31');">1, 201');">17, the Ouachita Parish District Attorney's Office dismissed the charges for which he was placed on pre-trial diversion. Id. at 9.

         Plaintiff claims that, on January 26, 201');">17, Officer Paul Blunschi falsely arrested him for attempted second-degree murder. Id. at 1');">12-1');">13.

         Plaintiff claims that, on March 1');">15, 201');">17, Assistant District Attorney Daniel Hunter filed a duplicitous bill of information against him “without probable [cause].” Id. at 4, 1');">14.

         Plaintiff asks the Court to dismiss the criminal charges that Hunter filed against him, to vacate and expunge his conviction, and to terminate his pre-trial diversion agreement. Id. at 4. Plaintiff also seeks $1');">1, 000, 000.00 in compensation, $1');">1, 000, 000.00 in punitive damages, and $1');">1, 000, 000.00 in “normal” damages. Id.

         Law and Analysis

         1');">1. Preliminary Screening

         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, his Complaint is subject to screening under § 1');">191');">15(e)(2). Section 1');">191');">15(e)(2)(B) provides 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');">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, 2');">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 ...


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