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Byerly v. Idaho Board of Correction

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 14, 2019




         The Clerk of Court conditionally filed Plaintiff Nathan Byerly's Complaint as a result of Plaintiff's status as an inmate and in forma pauperis request. Plaintiff has since filed an Amended Complaint. The Court now reviews the Amended Complaint to determine whether it should be summarily dismissed in whole or in part under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. Having reviewed the record, and otherwise being fully informed, the Court enters the following Order directing Plaintiff to file a second amended complaint if Plaintiff intends to proceed.

         1. Screening Requirement

         The Court must review complaints filed by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity, as well as complaints filed in forma pauperis, to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. The Court must dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof that states a frivolous or malicious claim, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) & 1915A(b).

         2. Pleading Standard

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint fails to state a claim for relief under Rule 8 if the factual assertions in the complaint, taken as true, are insufficient for the reviewing court plausibly “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. In other words, although Rule 8 “does not require detailed factual allegations, ... it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). If the facts pleaded are “merely consistent with a defendant's liability, ” or if there is an “obvious alternative explanation” that would not result in liability, the complaint has not stated a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Id. at 678, 682 (internal quotation marks omitted). And a court is not required to comb through a plaintiff's exhibits or other filings to determine if the complaint states a plausible claim.

         3. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (“IDOC”), currently incarcerated at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution. Plaintiff is currently facing Idaho state criminal charges in Ada County Court. Am. Compl., Dkt. 5, at 2. According to the Ada County iCourt database, Plaintiff's trial on those charges is set for November 5, 2019. See State v. Byerly, No. CR01-19-05242, (accessed Aug. 1, 2019).

         Plaintiff claims that, in May 2019, he attempted to file documents in his pending state criminal case but that Defendant Shedd, a prison employee, refused to mail the documents to the Ada County Court. Am. Compl. at 2. Because Plaintiff also refers to a petition for writ of habeas corpus that he tried to file, and because Plaintiff recently has been able to file several federal habeas petitions in this Court, he may also be claiming that Shedd refused to mail a state habeas petition to the Ada County Court. Id.

         Plaintiff asserts that his filings “were due as a matter of law for dispositive action of proceedings against Plaintiff” in his criminal case and that the “failure to bring the filings timely to court result[ed] in prejudice.” Id.

         Plaintiff also states that he was prevented from filing a petition in “U.S. District Court, ” id., but this appears to be incorrect-Petitioner has at least three pending federal habeas corpus petitions challenging the Ada County criminal charges, all of which were filed before Plaintiff filed this action. See Byerly v. Idaho, Case No. 1:19-cv-00130-BLW (D. Idaho) (lead case); see also Byerly v. Idaho, Case No. 1:19-cv-00182-BLW (D. Idaho) and Byerly v. Shedd, 1:19-cv-00213-BLW (D. Idaho) (consolidated July 15, 2019).

         Though it is not entirely clear, Plaintiff may be alleging that Defendant Shedd's reason for refusing to mail the documents to the Ada County Court was a mistaken reliance on this Court's General Order No. 342. Am. Compl. at 4. General Order 342 does not apply to state court filings, nor to federal habeas corpus cases. It applies only to non-habeas civil cases filed in this Court by pro se prisoners. See D. Idaho G.O. 342(A) (adopted Feb. 7, 2019). According to Plaintiff, Defendant Shedd “confuse[d] Plaintiff[‘s] filing attempts with Idaho and U.S. Courts.” Id.

         Although Plaintiff appears to allege that he is (or was) proceeding pro se in his state court criminal proceedings, the Ada County iCourt database suggests that Plaintiff has an attorney, David Henry Leroy, in that case. See, Case No. CR01-19-05242.

         4. Discussion

         Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to proceed with the Amended Complaint, which does not assert a plausible claim for relief. The Court will, however, grant Plaintiff 28 days to file a second amended complaint. Any second amended complaint should take into consideration the following.

         A. ...

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