United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
ANTHONY E. OWENS, Plaintiff,
DAVID L. MOSS CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11) filed by the
defendant, David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center
(“David L. Moss”). Plaintiff filed a response,
titled “Motion to O[b]ject [to] Dismiss[al] For Relief
In My Claim, And Ask The Magistrate: For . . . Speed[y]
Tr[ia]l 12 Jur[ors] - Cashier Checks” (Doc. 12), and
defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 13).
proceeding pro se, filed his original Complaint (Doc. 1) on
May 1, 2017. The Complaint identified David L. Moss as a
defendant, as well as a mail clerk (identified as “Mail
Clerk Martinez”) and a law librarian (identified as
“Ms. Wallace”)-both of whom presumably work at
the jail. Id. Because plaintiff's Amended
Complaint (Doc. 10), filed on July 19, 2017, lists only David
L. Moss in the case style, Mail Clerk Martinez and Ms.
Wallace were terminated from the case as of the date of that
asserts jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
his Complaint lists two counts: “Mail Clerk manifest
injustice” and “law librarian Manifest
injustice.” (Doc. 1). In support of the first count, he
states, “Mail clerk won't mail my mail out.”
Id. In support of the second count, he states,
“Clear error in their operation with inmate for due
process . . . I wasn't able to go [to] the law library
like [the] Handbook said.” Id. Plaintiff is
seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. Id.
withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
enough allegations of fact ‘to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Robbins v.
Oklahoma ex rel. Dep't of Human Servs., 519 F.3d
1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atlanta Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“[C]onclusory allegations without supporting factual
averments are insufficient to state a claim on which relief
can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1110 (10th Cir. 1991).
is proceeding pro se, and the court “must construe his
arguments liberally.” United States v. Pinson,
584 F.3d 972, 975 (10th Cir. 2009). Nevertheless, a district
court should not “assume the role of advocate for the
pro se litigant.” Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. A
court “will not supply additional factual allegations
to round out a plaintiff's complaint or construct a legal
theory on a plaintiff's behalf.” Whitney v. New
Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997). The
liberal standard applicable to a pro se plaintiff “does
not relieve the plaintiff of the burden of alleging
sufficient facts on which a recognized legal claim could be
based.” Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.
construing plaintiff's Complaint and Amended Complaint
liberally, this case must be dismissed for failure to state a
claim. Most of plaintiff's allegations are conclusory; he
alleges, for example, “misuse of power, ”
“principles of fairness, ” “clear error,
” and “manifest injustice for due process”
(Doc. 1) . Th e few statements that are more concrete are
still insufficient to form the basis of a §1983 claim.
U.S. Constitution “guarantees state inmates the right
to ‘adequate, effective, and meaningful' access to
the courts.” Petrick v. Maynard, 11 F.3d 991,
994 (10th Cir. 1993) (quoting Bounds v. Smith, 430
U.S. 817, 822 (1977)). “States may assure this right by
providing law libraries or lawyer assistance.”
Craft v. Middleton, 524 Fed. App'x 395, 400
(10th Cir. 2013). In any event, states must provide indigent
inmates with the tools necessary to draft, authenticate, and
mail legal documents. Bounds, 430 U.S. at 824-25.
there exists no “abstract, freestanding right to a law
library or legal assistance”- plaintiffs must show
actual injury in order to prevail. Lewis v. Casey,
518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996). An inmate “must allege facts
indicating a denial of legal resources and that the denial of
such resources hindered his efforts to pursue a nonfrivolous
claim.” Montana v. Lampert, 262 Fed. App'x
914, 917 (10th Cir. 2008). Specifically, the hindered legal
claim must have been an attempt by the inmate to challenge
his sentence or the conditions of his confinement.
Lewis, 518 U.S. at 355. (“Impairment of any
other litigating capacity is simply one of the
incidental (and perfectly constitutional) consequences of
conviction and incarceration.”).
has failed to adequately allege actual injury in his
pleadings. He alleges the mail clerk “won't mail
[his] mail out, ” (Doc. 1), the mail clerk
“return[s] [his] mail because [he] was ind[i]gent,
” (Doc. 10), and he “wasn't able to go [to]
the law library like [the] Handbook said.” (Doc. 1).
Within his Complaint, plaintiff also states, “Clear
error in [mailing] my legal work to U.S. District
Court.” (Doc. 1). Without more, it is unclear whether
the alleged library and mailroom issues hindered him from
making a legal claim, and it is impossible to know if such
legal claim, if it existed, was of the type necessary to
satisfy the injury requirement in this context. See
Lewis, 518 U.S. at 354-355, Montana, 262 Fed.
App'x at 917.