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Maur v. Shelby County District Attorney's Office

United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee

February 13, 2015

ASSAD MAUR, a/k/a Khaliq Ra-El, Plaintiff,
v.
SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT ORDER OF DISMISSAL ORDER CERTIFYING APPEAL NOT TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND ORDER DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL

JAMES D. TODD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Plaintiff Assad Maur, an inmate at the Shelby County Correctional Center in Memphis, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § l983, accompanied by a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 2.) In an order issued on May 9, 2014, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). On May 19 and October 6, 2014, Plaintiff filed amended complaints. The motions to amend (ECF No. 5, 8) are GRANTED.[1] The Clerk shall record the defendants as Shelby County, District Attorney Amy Weirich, Criminal Court Clerk Kevin Key, and Public Defender Stephen C. Bush.[2]

Plaintiff has filed a motion for “access to the courts, ” i.e., additional time in the law library to research his claim. (ECF No. 6.) The motion is DENIED as moot.

The complaint and amended complaints allege that Plaintiff was indicted by a grand jury in Shelby County on August 9, 2011. He was arraigned on August 22, 2011, and the public defender was appointed to represent him. The public defender waived the reading of the indictment without Plaintiff’s consent. Plaintiff was allegedly not provided with the discovery that he had requested. Plaintiff was allegedly not informed of the charges against him and was not provided a copy of the indictment until after his conviction. The public defendant and the District Attorney conspired together to withhold this information from him. Plaintiff was ultimately convicted of the charges against him and sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79, (2009), and in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). “Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court ‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.’” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681, 129 S.Ct. at 1951) (alteration in original). “[P]leadings that . . . are no more than conclusions . . . are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing, ’ rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only ‘fair notice’ of the nature of the claim, but also ‘grounds’ on which the claim rests.”).

“A complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally. See Neitzke [v. Williams], 490 U.S. [319, ] 325 [(1989)]. Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Id. at 328-29.” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470.

Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give “judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint’s factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327 (interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1915). Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50, a judge does not have to accept “fantastic or delusional” factual allegations as true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed for frivolousness. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28.

Id. at 471.

“Pro se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ’ and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants and prisoners are not exempt from the ...


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