United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
MICHAEL T. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
SCOTT BRODIE; JOHN DOE; JANE DOE, Defendants.
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION OF U.S.
Kathleen L. DeSoto United States Magistrate Judge
6, 2019, Plaintiff Anderson moved to proceed in forma
pauperis with this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging violation of his rights under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments. On June 7, 2019, he submitted an
amended complaint (Doc. 6) and a notice identifying the
amendments he made (Doc. 5). On June 14, he moved the Court,
ex parte, to allow him to obtain a docket sheet at
public expense on request to the clerk's office (Doc. 7).
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
motion is unconventional. Unlike other applicants, he has not
disclosed his income and expenses. He does, however,
represent that he receives assistance through the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. See Mot.
(Doc. 1) at 2. Presumably, he has submitted appropriate
financial documentation to a state or federal authority that
is obliged to verify his financial means. On this occasion,
the Court will rely on that determination and grant
Anderson's motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
Ex Parte Motion for Docket Sheets
18, 2019, United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch
entered an order denying Anderson's ex parte
motion to allow him to obtain copies of docket sheets at
public expense. See Text Order (Doc. 8). Because the
undersigned is new to the case, it seems appropriate to
explain why the clerk is not required to provide free docket
motion states that he intends to use the docket sheet
"because it is easier to use the abbreviated description
of the subject matter of the document" than the docket
number. See Ex Parte Mot. (Doc. 7) at 3. This is
understandable and, frankly, the Court agrees the docket text
consented to electronic service. See Notice and
Consent (Doc. 3) at 1. When the clerk receives and files a
document, the Court's electronic filing system generates
a notice of electronic filing ("NEF") that is
delivered to Anderson by email. That email provides a link to
the document, which Anderson may print or save to an
electronic file. The document has the case number, the docket
number of the document, and the date and time of filing
stamped across the top of each page. In addition, the email
itself consists of the NEF, which includes the docket entry
corresponding to the document. Consequently, by saving his
emails, Anderson always has access to the docket entry
corresponding to each document, and that is the information
he seeks. See Ex Parte Mot. (Doc. 7) at 3. When
Anderson agreed to be served by email, the clerk recognized
that he did not have NEFs for documents filed on or before
the date of his agreement. The clerk regenerated the NEFs
corresponding to those documents and resent them to Anderson
so that he would have the docket text corresponding to those
documents as well.
already has and will receive on an ongoing basis the
information he requests. He does not also need the clerk to
stop whatever other task is at hand to respond to his
requests by taking a snapshot of the docket, saving it, and
emailing it to him.
Court notes that Anderson filed his motion ex parte.
There is no reason for the motion to be filed under seal. It
will be filed in the public docket, except that the Court
will hold the photograph of Anderson's residence (Doc.
7-2 at 1-2) under seal. It appears possible Anderson filed
the motion ex parte to protect the privacy of that
Screening of Complaint
Anderson is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is
required to review his complaint to determine whether it
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
See 2% U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
is also self-represented. "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. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). Courts must briefly explain deficiencies that may
be cured by amendment, see Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d
1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012), but if a claim cannot be cured by
amendment, "the court shall dismiss" it,
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (emphasis added).
Claims and Analysis
Anderson's Allegations of Fact
stage of the proceedings, the Court assumes Anderson's
allegations of fact are true. He describes the following
course of events.
September 14, 2018, Anderson was seated in the Commons area
of the University Center on the campus of the University of
Montana, editing a paper. A female custodian, Jane Doe,
approached, put a copy of the UM tobacco policy on his table,
and told Anderson he could not chew tobacco on campus.
See Am. Compl. (Doc. 6) at 4 ¶¶ 11-12.
20 minutes later, two UM campus police officers, Defendants
Brodie and John Doe, approached his table and asked to see
identification. Anderson, in turn, asked them to explain what
reasonable suspicion caused them to believe he was committing
a crime. Anderson also informed them they could not detain
him based on the UM tobacco policy. Anderson declined to
produce identification. Brodie and Doe escorted Anderson off
campus and told him he could return the next day. See
Id. at 5 ¶¶ 14-16.
following evening, September 15, 2018, Anderson was sitting
at the same table when Brodie and Doe approached him again.
This time, they told him they had found record of two
misdemeanor arrest warrants in his name. They permitted
Anderson to gather his belongings and drop them off at a