United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND AND
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING AMENDED
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff Jon Robert Adams, an inmate in the custody
of the Department of Corrections, alleges that Defendant Luke
Monahan has denied him access to the courts. The matter is
before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to amend, through
which motion Plaintiff seeks to join Deputy Warden Susan Carr
as a party defendant. (ECF No. 21.)
Defendant has not yet filed a response to the complaint,
Plaintiff is entitled to amend his complaint once as a matter
of course. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(B).Accordingly, Plaintiff's
motion to amend is granted.
also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF
No. 3), which application the Court granted (ECF No. 7). In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's amended complaint is appropriate.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's
amended 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. §
a review of the amended complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss Plaintiff's personal capacity claim against
Deputy Warden Carr.
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).
addition to the review contemplated by § 1915,
Plaintiff's amended 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).
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
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).
alleges that Defendant Monahan, the unit manager for
Plaintiff's cell block, has denied Plaintiff meaningful
access to the law library, and that the denial of access has
interfered with his ability to conduct litigation in which he
is involved in state court. According to Plaintiff, he
receives one hour per week in the library and Defendant
Monahan has denied his request for additional time unless and
until Plaintiff informs Defendant Monahan that he has a court
deadline to meet.
unsuccessfully grieved the matter with Defendant Monahan in
June 2017. (ECF No. 1-7.) On September 1, 2017, Plaintiff
received a further grievance response from Warden Scott
Landry. Warden Landry advised Plaintiff to address the matter
with Deputy Warden Carr, Defendant Monahan's supervisor.
(Amended Complaint ¶ 43.)
September 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a supplemental grievance
with Deputy Warden Carr. (Amended Complaint ¶ 39.)
Plaintiff alleges that he “never received a
response” and that his “grievance went unanswered
and ignored.” (Id. ¶ 41.) The Court
received the motion to amend and the proposed amended