United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(E), 1915A
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff Nixon Louis, an inmate in the custody of
the Maine Department of Corrections, alleges that Defendant
Gary Waltz, property officer for the Maine State Prison, and
Defendant David Allen deprived Plaintiff of due process,
subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment, and
discriminated against him on the basis of race.
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
6), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 8.) 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).
a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss the case.
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 complaint is subject to screening under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is
incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities or
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 following his transfer to the Maine State
Prison, an inmate who works in the property department of the
prison informed Plaintiff that a package
containing some of Plaintiff's personal property had
arrived from the Maine Correctional Center. Plaintiff told
the inmate that the package should have been sent to
Plaintiff's mother, but that, because the package had
arrived at the Maine State Prison, he would like to retrieve
some items from the package. The inmate advised Plaintiff
that the inmate had arranged for the package to be shipped to
Plaintiff's mother, and that Plaintiff would need to make
a request with Defendant Waltz, the property officer, if he
wanted to retrieve any of the items.
to Plaintiff, he made two requests of Defendant Waltz, but
Defendant Waltz did not respond. Plaintiff was subsequently
informed that the package had been sent to his mother. When
Plaintiff consulted with his mother, he learned that the
package did not include certain items of jewelry Plaintiff
placed in the package.
filed two grievances with Defendant Allen, who denied both
grievances. Plaintiff then wrote to the warden, but the
warden did not respond.
asserts Defendants violated his right to due process because
his “original grievance was dismiss[ed] with no other
remedy for appeal” (Complaint at 4), because Defendants
did not conduct an investigation, and because Defendants did