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Lawrence v. Salmonson

United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division

August 1, 2018



          John Johnston United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Robert Lawrence, a prisoner proceeding without counsel, has filed a Motion Seeking Immediate Injunction (Doc. 6) and a Motion to Amend Defendant List (Doc. 7). As currently plead, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. As such, Mr. Lawrence has not satisfied the requirements for injunctive relief and that motion should be denied. The Motion to Amend Defendant List will be denied for failure to comply with Local Rule 15.1 but Mr. Lawrence will be given an opportunity to file an amended complaint.


         A. Parties

         Mr. Lawrence is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel. He is proceeding in forma pauperis. Mr. Lawrence is incarcerated at Montana State Prison (“MSP”).

         Mr. Lawrence names the following Defendants: Jim Salmonson (Warden), Tom Wood (Associate Warden), Roxanne Wigert, Alvin Fode, Gary Reed, and Ben Shupert. (Complaint, Doc. 2 at 1.) In his motion to amend, Mr. Lawrence seeks to add Case Manager Amber Graham as a Defendant but he provided no allegations against Ms. Graham. (Doc. 7.)

         B. Factual Allegations

         Mr. Lawrence alleges he was transferred from North Dakota State Prison to MSP on August 5, 2015 and he has been trying to get a single cell due to mental disorders and some childhood traumas since that transfer. He initially contacted Roxanne Wigert and was told to contact classification. After waiting 6-8 months for a reply he contacted Ms. Wigert again and was told to get something in writing from North Dakota Department of Corrections to show why he should be in a single cell. Mr. Lawrence claims he obtained these documents for Ms. Wigert.

         Mr. Lawrence alleges he also spoke with and provided his paperwork to Security Tech Ben Shupert and CM Gary Reed about the single cell issue. Mr. Reed recommended a meeting with the prison therapist, Lisa Choquette. Mr. Lawrence alleges Mr. Reed e-mailed Ms. Choquette but got no result.

         Mr. Lawrence claims he then started sending mental health request forms every week for approximately one month with no results. He was eventually scheduled for an appointment with Lisa Pesant. He alleges Ms. Pesant met with him and suggested that he start taking medication or intentionally violate DOC rules and policies. (Complaint, Doc. 2 at 2-5.)

         Mr. Lawrence alleges he has been diagnosed with: aggressive behavior, sleepwalking (which can and sometimes does turn violent), and schizoaffective disorder. He also claims he was a victim of child abuse and as a result he cannot sleep while there is someone else locked in the cell with him. (Complaint, Doc. 2-1 at 1-2.)

         C. Claims

         Mr. Lawrence claims Defendants are violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment clause, the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause, and the Americans with Disabilities Act by: (1) failing to protect him from harm; (2) failing to house him according to his due process rights; (3) failing to consider his mental health disability and putting others at risk; (4) neglecting his mental health; (5) showing callous disregard by implying that he should get into trouble to get what he wants; and (6) acted with deliberate indifference. (Complaint, Doc. 2 at 1-2.)

         II. SCREENING PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A

         A. Standard

         Mr. Lawrence is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis so the Court must review his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A. Sections 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B) require the Court to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis and/or by a prisoner against a governmental defendant before it is served if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         A complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A case is malicious if it was filed with the intention or desire to harm another.” Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2005). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to allege the “grounds” of his “entitlement to relief.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted). Rule 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted).

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint “that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In order to satisfy the requirements in Rule 8 a complaint's allegations must cross “the line from conceivable to plausible.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 680 (2009).

         There is a two-step procedure to determine whether a complaint's allegations cross that line. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662. First, the Court must identify “the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 680. Factual allegations are not entitled to the assumption of truth if they are “merely consistent with liability, ” or “amount to nothing more than a ‘formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional” claim. Id. at 679, 681. A complaint stops short of the line between probability and the possibility of relief where the facts pled are merely consistent with a defendant's liability. Id. at 678.

         Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a “plausible” claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A claim is “plausible” if the factual allegations, which are accepted as true, “allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. This inquiry is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679 (citation omitted). If the factual allegations, which are accepted as true, “do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not “show[n]”-“that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         “A document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and ‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.' “ Erickson v. Pardu, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); cf. Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice”).

         B. Analysis

         1. Americans with ...

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