United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHERINE MENENDEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Patrick Ryan
Grande's filings in the above-captioned civil case. Mr.
Grande submitted a 64-page “complaint” comprised
of some handwriting on this Court's “Complaint for
Violation of Civil Rights Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983”
form, as well as numerous handwritten exhibits and other
documents. See Compl. [EFC No. 1]. Additionally, Mr.
Grande appended more random documents to his application to
proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2]. He also filed
a Motion for Release, a Letter to the Court, and a request to
alter or supplement his pleadings [ECF No. 3, 4, 6]. In
total, the Court now has a few hundred pages from Mr. Grande.
filings are treated with great deference by this Court.
However, in order for the Court to take the appropriate legal
action on an individual's court filing, it is important
that the Court understand what the individual is asking for.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires that a litigant
file a short and plain statement of their claim. This may be
done in a variety of ways---for example, a litigant could
fill in the appropriate complaint template for an action such
as the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 form or the habeas corpus form.
By contrast, an individual could file a completely
freestanding document. At the initial stage of a lawsuit, a
litigant is not required to file large documents. In fact, in
many cases, the filing of a large document that contains many
different types of pages can be distracting to the Court
because it can be difficult to determine what it is that the
litigant wants to the Court to address. Here, with hundreds
of pages of documents, the Court is having a difficult time
understanding what Mr. Grande requests. Rather than move
forward by guessing, the Court finds it appropriate to seek
an amended complaint from Mr. Grande. Below, the Court will
provide a short discussion of the two types of claims it
thinks Mr. Grande may be presenting, to help streamline his
Court carefully screens cases wherein an individual seeks to
proceed in forma pauperis (without prepaying a
filing fee) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Regardless of
an individual's actual financial qualification, an IFP
application will also be denied, and an action will be
dismissed, when an IFP applicant has filed a complaint that
fails to state a cause of action on which relief may be
granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii);
Atkinson v. Bohn, 91 F.3d 1127, 1128 (8th Cir. 1996)
(per curiam); Carter v. Schafer, 273 Fed.Appx. 581,
582 (8th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (“[C]ontrary to
plaintiffs' arguments on appeal, the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e) apply to all persons proceeding IFP and
are not limited to prisoner suits, and the provisions allow
dismissal without service.”). In reviewing whether a
complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, this
Court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in
the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Aten v. Scottsdale Ins. Co.,
511 F.3d 818, 820 (8th Cir. 2008). Although the factual
allegations in the complaint need not be detailed, they must
be sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level . . . .” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The complaint must
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570. In assessing the
sufficiency of the complaint, the court may disregard legal
conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Pro se
complaints are to be construed liberally, but they still must
allege enough facts to support the claims advanced. See
Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).
the Court finds it unclear whether Mr. Grande seeks some form
of relief for a violation of Section 1983, or whether he
seeks to be released from custody under habeas corpus
statutes. Based on the lack of clarity, the Court finds it
appropriate to dismiss the complaint at this juncture for
failure to state a claim pursuant to Section 1915(e)(2).
However, Mr. Grande may successfully refile subject to the
following guidance. Litigants must challenge the
fact of their confinement in a habeas petition; they
must challenge the conditions of their confinement
in a civil lawsuit. Put another way, if Mr. Grande believes
that his incarceration as a whole is unlawful, then he can
challenge this only through a habeas petition. If he believes
aspects of his confinement are unlawful - for example, his
medication regime or his access to the canteen - he can
challenge this through civil litigation. The two types of
claims-Section 1983, and a claim for release-cannot be
presented in a single case.
on the foregoing analysis, the Court finds it appropriate to
dismiss the pending documents without prejudice and to grant
Mr. Grande a chance to file an amended complaint. The Court
will allow 30 days to file an amended complaint without
penalty. A failure to comply may result in dismissal of this
action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). Mr.
Grande shall also file a new application to proceed in forma
pauperis with his amended pleading. The application should
only contain financial information. No. additional documents
THEREFORE, IT IS RECOMMENDED:
Mr. Grande's complaint shall be DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE and with leave to file an amended complaint within
30 days of this Order.
the Clerk's Office be DIRECTED to supply Mr. Grande with
a copy of the standard habeas corpus petition.
Mr. Grande's pending Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis [ECF No. 2], his Motion to Set Patrick Ryan Grande
Free [ECF No. 3], and his Motion to ...