United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER REVIEW OF PLAINTIFF'S
COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
this action, Plaintiff seeks relief in this Court against the
State of Maine and potentially other defendants, evidently
based on the fact that he is in the custody of the State as
the consequence of state court proceedings.
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
5), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 11.) In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C.
a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss the complaint.
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).
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).
complaint, Plaintiff identifies a number of state court
criminal docket numbers and asserts he was falsely arrested.
Plaintiff has joined the State of Maine as a defendant, and
possibly attempts to assert a claim against other individuals
and entities, including some governmental officers.
(Complaint, ECF No. 1; Addendum / Motion, ECF No. 3.)
after he filed his complaint, Plaintiff was admitted to the
Dorothea Dix Hospital, a State of Maine mental health
facility. (Plaintiff's Notice of Change of Address, ECF
No. 8.) Plaintiff asserts he is unsafe at the hospital, and
that his rights have been violated. (Id.)
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,' possessing
‘only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute.'” Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251,
256 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). “It is to be
presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction,
and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the
party asserting jurisdiction.” Kokkonen, 511
U.S. at 377 (citation omitted). “A court is duty-bound
to notice, and act upon, defects in its subject matter
jurisdiction sua sponte.” Spooner v. EEN,
Inc., 644 F.3d 62, 67 (1st Cir. 2011).
his filings, Plaintiff evidently challenges his ongoing
detention, which apparently is the result of state court
proceedings. Plaintiff, however, has not asserted any facts
that would support a claim within this Court's subject
matter jurisdiction. Principally, Plaintiff has attempted to
assert a claim against the State of Maine. The State of Maine
has immunity under the Eleventh Amendment against suits
brought by citizens in federal court, regardless of the form
of relief requested. Poirier v. Mass. Dep't of
Corr., 558 F.3d 92, 97 n.6 (1st Cir. 2009) (“A
plaintiff may seek prospective injunctive relief against a
state official, but may not obtain such relief against a
state or its agency because of the sovereign immunity bar of
the Eleventh Amendment.”). Additionally, while a
federal district court would have jurisdiction under the
Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, over claims against
persons exercising state authority, section 1983 does not
authorize claims against the state or its agencies. Will
v. Mich. Dep't of ...