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Warrender v. Maine Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Maine

April 12, 2017

HERBERT F. WARRENDER, Plaintiff
v.
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants

          RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A

          John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

         In this action, Plaintiff Herbert Warrender, an inmate in the custody of the Maine Department of Corrections (the Department), at the Mountain View Correctional Facility, alleges the Department has unlawfully denied him credit for time served on a concurrent sentence. Plaintiff also asserts the Department required that he perform uncompensated labor and improperly assigned him to the Maine State Prison for a period of time.

         Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 3), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 4.) In accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or … as soon as practicable after docketing, ” because he is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

         Following a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court dismiss the complaint.

         Standard of Review

         The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, ” inter alia, that the action is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).

         In addition to the review contemplated by § 1915, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening under the Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities and officers. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c). The § 1915A screening requires courts to “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim …; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         When considering whether a complaint states a claim for which relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim, Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980). To allege a civil action in federal court, it is not enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a defendant acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts that identify the manner by which the defendant subjected the plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a remedy. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Background Facts[1]

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Fournier, a sergeant with the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office, and Defendant Brochu, Plaintiff's former attorney, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts Defendant Fournier failed to execute a personal recognizance bail bond while Plaintiff was in intensive care at a medical facility, and that Defendant Brochu made an agreement with the State that deprived Plaintiff of credit for time served and exposed Plaintiff to financial liability for emergency medical services. (Complaint ¶¶ 2 - 4, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Brochu failed to inform Plaintiff of a motion that was heard in state court on October 12, 2012. (Id. ¶ 5.)

         Plaintiff further asserts the Department miscalculated or omitted credits toward his state sentence, including time served on a concurrent federal sentence, “day by day service” credit, and “presentence good time” credit. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 9, 10, 15, 17.) For example, Plaintiff apparently claims that he should have received credit, pursuant to 17-A M.R.S. § 1253(2), for good time accrued while serving his federal sentence. (Id. ¶ 13.) Additionally, Plaintiff alleges the Department placed him in the Maine State Prison because the Department considered him an “administrative burden” based on his assertions that he had served his time; he further asserts the Department made him perform “hard labor” without compensation. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 12.)

         Plaintiff claims the Department “owes [him] 597 days credit for day by day service and 154 days statutory good time.” (Id. ΒΆ 17.) Plaintiff also requests an award of money damages against the ...


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