United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. RAU U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Joshua Bernard
Smith's Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights Under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, ECF No. 1 (Complaint), and his
Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying
Fees or Costs, ECF No. 2 (IFP Application). For the following
reasons, the Court recommends dismissal of this action
reviewing the IFP Application, this Court concludes that
Smith qualifies financially for IFP status. But an IFP
application will be denied, and an action 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);
see also 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 complaint's factual
allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. See Varga v. U.S. Bank Nat'l
Ass'n, 764 F.3d 833, 838 (8th Cir. 2014). The
complaint's factual allegations need not be detailed, but
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
complaint's sufficiency, the court may disregard legal
conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. See
Hager v. Ark. Dep't of Health, 735 F.3d 1009, 1013
(8th Cir. 2013) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265, 286 (1986)). Pro se complaints are to be construed
liberally, but they still must allege sufficient facts to
support the claims advanced. See Stone v. Harry, 364
F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing cases).
Court construes Smith's Complaint, hecontends that
authorities violated his rights of free travel and to be free
of racial discrimination when he was arrested on May 4, 2018.
Compl. 6. Smith asserts that this arrest occurred due to
“racial profiling, ” that it constituted a
kidnapping, and that property taken during the arrest (a
vehicle and over $13, 000 in cash) was unlawfully seized.
Id. at 6-7. Smith's request for relief asks for,
among other things, a return of his property as well as
compensatory and punitive damages. Id. at 7.
records indicate that Smith's May 2018 arrest led to him
being charged by Minnesota authorities with numerous crimes.
See Register of Actions, State v. Smith,
No. 19HA-CR-18-2000 (various charges dated May 4, 2018),
available at http://pa.courts.state.mn.us (last
visited Feb. 4, 2019). Those charges culminated in a January
2019 trial at which Smith was found guilty of three felonies;
sentencing is due to occur in March 2019. See Id.
(indicating convictions for one felony count of
controlled-substances possession and two felony counts of
driving while impaired). The upshot is that Smith's
challenge to his arrest implicates a present state-court
leads Smith's present action headlong into the barrier
posed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477 (1994). In Heck, the Supreme Court held
to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction
or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a
[42 U.S.C.] § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus. A claim for damages bearing that relationship
to a conviction or sentence that has not been so
invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983.
Id. at 486-87 (footnote and citation omitted). In
other words, one cannot maintain a civil action that, if
successful, would necessarily cast doubt on the validity of
his facially valid confinement. See, e.g.,
Holmes v. Remark, No. 18-CV-0155 (PJS/SER), 2018 WL
1720922, at *2 (D. Minn. Mar. 15, 2018), report and
recommendation adopted, 2018 WL 1720914 (D. Minn. Apr.
9, 2018). And while Heck concerned claims for
monetary damages, “claims for injunctive relief that
would necessarily imply the invalidity of a conviction or
sentence likewise cannot be raised in a § 1983 action
until after the criminal judgment has been expunged, vacated,
or otherwise called into question.” Hollie v.
Roy, No. 17-CV-1434 (PJS/SER), 2017 WL 2841230, at *3
(D. Minn. May 30, 2017) (citing Skinner v. Switzer,
562 U.S. 521, 533 (2011)), report and recommendation
adopted, 2017 WL 2838127 (D. Minn. June 30, 2017).
As a result, the fact that Smith seeks certain injunctive
relief alongside his damages claims does not blunt
Heck's impact on this action.
result of Heck, until Smith successfully challenges
the legality of his January 2019 conviction, he cannot seek
relief resulting from his May 2018 arrest in a suit under
§ 1983. Any such claim must be dismissed without
prejudice. See Gautreaux v. Sanders, 395 Fed.Appx.
311, 312 (8th Cir. 2010) (per curiam) (modifying dismissal
under Heck to be without prejudice) (citing
Schafer v. Moore, 46 F.3d 43, 45 (8th Cir. 1995)).
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED THAT this ...