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Jamison v. Newman

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

September 22, 2017

MARTIN LEE JAMISON, Plaintiff,
v.
REBECCA NEWMAN; STEVE SOUTHERLAND; STEVE KUNZWEILER; JULIE DOSS, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          GREGORY K. FRIZZELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE

         This is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action commenced on August 24, 2017, by Plaintiff Martin Lee Jamison, a state prisoner appearing pro se. Plaintiff filed a complaint (Dkt. # 1), along with motions to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. # 2), for appointment of counsel (Dkt. # 3), and for class action certification (Dkt. # 4). By Order filed September 7, 2017 (Dkt. # 5), the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and directed him to pay an initial partial filing fee. The Court also denied Plaintiff's motions for appointment of counsel and for class action certification. Id. On September 15, 2017, Plaintiff paid the initial partial filing fee as directed by the Court. See Dkt. # 7. For the reasons discussed below, the complaint shall be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         A. Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted

         1. Screening/Dismissal standards

         Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify any cognizable claim and dismiss any claim which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must present factual allegations, assumed to be true, that “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. A court must accept all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, even if doubtful in fact, and must construe the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Id. at 555. However, “when the allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a [plausible] claim of entitlement to relief, ” the cause of action should be dismissed. Id. at 558. Twombly articulated the pleading standard for all civil actions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009). The Court applies the same standard of review for dismissals under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) that is employed for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217-18 (10th Cir. 2007).

         A pro se plaintiff's complaint must be broadly construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The generous construction to be given the pro se litigant's allegations “does not relieve the plaintiff of the burden of alleging sufficient facts on which a recognized legal claim could be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). Notwithstanding a pro se plaintiff's various mistakes or misunderstandings of legal doctrines or procedural requirements, “if a court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so . . . .” Id. A reviewing court need not accept “mere conclusions characterizing pleaded facts.” Bryson v. City of Edmond, 905 F.2d 1386, 1390 (10th Cir. 1990); see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” (quotations and citations omitted)). The 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).

         2. Causes of action raised in the complaint

         The Court finds that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         Plaintiff describes the nature of the case as follows: “[t]he Tulsa County Public Defenders Office court appointed counsel(s) fail to provide effective assistance of counsel to the indigent defendant and the State courts fail to provide an adequate remedy to address this issue. Tulsa County District Attorneys deny equal protection in violation of the 14th Amendment.” See Dkt. # 1 at 3. Plaintiff identifies five (5) grounds for relief as follows:

Count I: Plaintiff was denied effective assistance of counsel when counsel failure [sic] of consulation [sic] in violation of the 6th and 14th Amendment.
Count II: Plaintiff was denied effective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to mitigate in violation of 6th and 14th Amendment.
Count III: Plaintiff was denied effective assistance of counsel when counsel render [sic] concession of guilt in violation of the 6th and 14th Amendment.
Count IV: Indigent was denied the right to effective assistance of counsel when appointed [counsel] caused rendered the indigent concession of guilt.
Count V: The Tulsa District Attorney's Office denies indigents constitutional rights through selective prosecution and ...

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