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Hileman v. Alvarez

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 2, 2019

PAUL ALAN HILEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH ALVAREZ, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on review of a document filed by pro se plaintiff Paul Alan Hileman that has been construed as a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint is deficient because it has not been filed on a Court form. Moreover, plaintiff has not paid the filing fee or filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. As such, plaintiff will be directed to file an amended complaint pursuant to the instructions set forth below. He will also be ordered to either pay the full filing fee or submit a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, along with a copy of his inmate account statement.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a "mere possibility of misconduct." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw upon judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679. The court must "accept as true the facts alleged, but not legal conclusions or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Barton v. Taber, 820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016). See also Brown v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 372-73 (8th Cir. 2016) (stating that court must accept factual allegations in complaint as true, but is not required to "accept as true any legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation").

         When reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A "liberal construction" means that if the essence of an allegation is discernible, the district court should construe the plaintiffs complaint in a way that permits his or her claim to be considered within the proper legal framework. Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015). However, even pro se complaints are required to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980). See also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8thCir. 2004) (stating that federal courts are not required to "assume facts that are not alleged, just because an additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger complaint"). In addition, affording a pro se complaint the benefit of a liberal construction does not mean that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation must be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is a pro se litigant currently incarcerated at the Lee County Jail in Fort Madison, Iowa. (Docket No. 1 at 1). He has filed a handwritten document that he titles "an emergency lawsuit."[1] The complaint is not on a Court form and plaintiff has neither filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis nor paid the filing fee. He names Joseph Alvarez and Victoria Pederson as defendants. He does not state the capacity in which they are sued.

         Plaintiffs complaint is disorganized and difficult to follow. He begins by stating that in the early 1980s, when he was a juvenile, he stole an automobile from Youngs Auto Mart in Fort Madison, Iowa. (Docket No. 1 at 2). He further states that he "beat up" defendant Alvarez "in a wrestling match type fight" after Alvarez threatened him on the school bus. Plaintiff goes on to state that the "Youngs made things personal with plaintiff after he stole the car.

         Next, plaintiff states that defendant Victoria Pederson is a psychiatrist at the Iowa State Penitentiary. He alleges that she made things "personal (illegally)" with him, due to the fight plaintiff had with defendant Alvarez.

         The remainder of plaintiffs "Statement of Facts" appears to concern an unidentified "suspect" and a "federal investigation." Plaintiff states that at 5:30 p.m. on April Fool's Day in 2017, he was "successfully questioned, then released, by federal authorities." He asserts this occurred outside of a Walmart in Waterford, Connecticut, in front of everyone. Plaintiff then states that he "found himself in hot pursuit of two white sheriffs deputy vehicles." These two sheriffs department vehicles were to "deliver the suspect to federal authorities." (Docket No. 1 at 2-3). The end result of this "hot pursuit" was a "string of false arrests and imprisonments, as well as other things along the way." (Docket No. 1 at 3).

         Plaintiff does not seek any specific relief from the Court.

         Discussion

         Plaintiff has filed a document with the Court that has been construed as a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint is deficient because it does not appear on a Court form. Moreover, plaintiff has not shown that defendants violated his constitutional rights while acting under color of state law. Indeed, it is difficult to determine exactly what plaintiff is alleging the defendants did or did not do to harm him. The Court is also unsure as to where these events took place for venue purposes, as he mentions both Iowa and Connecticut. Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he will be allowed to amend his complaint according to the instructions set forth below.

         Plaintiff should type or print his complaint on the Court's civil rights form, which will be provided to him. See E.D. Mo. L.R. 45 - 2.06(A) ("All actions brought by pro se plaintiffs or petitioners should be filed on Court-provided forms"). The Court notes that plaintiffs handwriting is at times nearly illegible. If he is unable to type the ...


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