United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Honorable David T. Schulz, United States Magistrate
Judge, dated June 29, 2017, recommending the dismissal of the
action without prejudice for failure to state a claim or for
failure to prosecute. See Dkt. No. 4. The Court
declines to accept the recommendations for the reasons set
Eugene Vincent Joiner filed a complaint in this action on May
1, 2017, and applied to proceed without prepaying fees or
costs. Dkt. Nos. 1-2. His Complaint appears related to a
separate case in this District: Joiner v. Metro Transit
Police Dep't, , Case No. 16cv2006 (DSD/FLN). In that
case, Joiner attempted to file amended complaints against
Hennepin County and a number of the same individuals named in
the Complaint in this action: Sheriff Richard W. Stanek,
Deputy Annette Parker, Deputy Andrew Carlson, Detention
Deputy Thomas Poser, Detention Deputy Angela Johnson, and
Detention Deputy James Mauer. Compare Case No.
16cv2006, Dkt. No. 10, at 2; and Case No. 16cv2006,
Dkt. No. 28, at 1; with Case No. 17cv1452, Dkt. No.
1, at 2. The Metro Transit court dismissed Hennepin
County without prejudice and, on April 20, 2017, struck
Joiner's purported “First Consolidated Amended
Complaint.” Case No. 16cv2006, Dkt. Nos. 27 & 58.
In the April 20 order, the court advised Joiner that he could
not sue Hennepin County in that case because the court had
already dismissed that party without prejudice but that
“Joiner may bring a separate action against Hennepin
County.” Case No. 16cv2006, Dkt. No. 58, at 4 n.3.
Joiner filed the Complaint in this case shortly thereafter,
apparently after first filing it in error in the other case.
See Case No. 16cv2006, Dkt. No. 61.
Magistrate Judge issued an order in this case on May 28,
finding that Joiner's Complaint is entirely conclusory
and granting him an opportunity to file an amended complaint.
See Dkt. No. 3, at 2. The Magistrate Judge warned
Joiner that he “must file his amended complaint no
later than June 16, 2017, failing which this Court will
recommend that this action be dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” Id. at 3. That deadline passed,
Joiner did not file an amended complaint, and the record does
not reflect any other action taken by him with regard to his
case. On June 29, the Magistrate Judge issued the Report and
Recommendation, finding again that Joiner's Complaint is
entirely conclusory and that he did not plead any facts about
the threadbare deliberate-indifference claim asserted in his
pleadings. Dkt. No. 4, at 1-2. The Report and Recommendation
recommends dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a
claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), or
alternatively dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(b) for failure to prosecute. Id. at 2.
The Report and Recommendation notes that “Joiner has
not communicated with the [c]ourt about this case at all
since commencing this action” in May. Id. at
2. The deadline for objecting to the Report and
Recommendation was in mid-July (14 days after Joiner was
served a copy of it), but he did not file any objection. As
with the Magistrate Judge, Joiner has not contacted this
Court in any way since he filed his Complaint.
Recommendation to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Court does not accept the recommendation to dismiss for
failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Joiner alleges that while he “was
incarcerated in the Hennepin County Detention Center within
the custody and control of the defendants and emp[loy]ees,
” Defendants “with knowledge of plaintiff['s]
medical needs, and [/] or with deliberate indifference to
such medical needs, have acted or fail[ed] to act in such a
way as to deprive plaintiff of necessary and adequate medical
care[, ] thus endangering the plaintiff['s] health and
wellbeing . . . .” Dkt. No. 1, at 2. This type of
conclusory statement, unsupported by any specific facts, by
itself fails to plausibly state a claim for relief. See
Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 860 F.3d 1106, 1110 (8th
Cir. 2017). However, Joiner also attached numerous exhibits
to his Complaint, which the Court may consider as part of the
Complaint. See Ellis, 860 F.3d at 1112, n.4;
West-Anderson v. Missouri Gaming Co., 557 F.
App'x 620, 622 (8th Cir. 2014) (“document attached
as exhibit to pleading is part of pleading for all
purposes”) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c)); Whitney v.
Guys, Inc., 700 F.3d 1118, 1128 (8th Cir. 2012)
(“We assess plausibility considering only the materials
that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings and exhibits
attached to the complaint[.]”) (citation and quotation
marks omitted). The exhibits include copies of investigative
reports from a Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Internal
Affairs Investigation that refer to Joiner's complaining
about back pain and asking to see a nurse while he was
detained. See, e.g., Ex. 2, at 1, Dkt. No. 1-3.
Based on a cursory review of the voluminous exhibits
submitted as attachments to Joiner's Complaint, the Court
cannot immediately conclude that the Complaint fails to state
a claim as a matter of law.
Court finds, however, that the Complaint fails to comply with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), which requires the
plaintiff to include “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.”
As the Magistrate Judge noted, the body of Joiner's
Complaint contains only conclusory allegations without
pleading any facts to support those conclusions. Joiner has
attached more than 80 pages of exhibits but has not called
out any facts in his written allegations. It is not the
Court's responsibility to mine these exhibits for
“nuggets that might refute obvious pleading
deficiencies, ” see Neubauer v. FedEx Corp.,
849 F.3d 400, 404 (8th Cir. 2017), even if Joiner is without
counsel. “Though pro se complaints are to be
construed liberally, they still must allege sufficient facts
to support the claims advanced.” Stone v.
Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (internal
citation omitted). Because the Court “shall
dismiss” the case if it determines that the complaint
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), Joiner must file a complaint that
enables the Court to make such an evaluation.
Recommendation to Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute
Joiner's failure to comply with the Magistrate
Judge's order to file an amended complaint, his failure
to object to the Report and Recommendation, and the fact that
the Court has not heard from him for months, it would not be
inappropriate to dismiss without prejudice for failure to
prosecute. The Court notes, however, that on Joiner's
application to proceed in forma pauperis, he stated
that he was homeless. It is Joiner's charge to update the
Court records with his current contact information and to
respond to Court orders, and he is warned that failure to
comply with Court orders going forward will result in summary
dismissal of this action.
particular circumstances of this case, including the
procedural history relating to Case No. 16cv2006, the Court
in its discretion will allow Joiner one more opportunity to
file an amended complaint in this action that complies with
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 12.
amended complaint should name each defendant separately in
the caption and should set out each claim for relief, with
supporting factual allegations, in short and plain statements
in the text of the complaint without relying merely on
attachments to the complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2). Joiner is advised that resources are available on
the District Court's publically available website that
might assist him in complying with the applicable standards.
must file his amended complaint by September 14, 2017.
Failure to comply with this Order will result in the
dismissal of his case.
on the files, records, and proceedings herein, and for the
reasons stated above, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. Plaintiff Eugene Vincent Joiner's Application to
Proceed in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs
[Dkt. No. 2] ...