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Baumgartner v. Larsen

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 9, 2019

RODNEY R. BAUMGARTNER, Plaintiff,
v.
McCORD LARSEN and MATT LOVE, Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER BY SCREENING JUDGE

          B. Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge

         The Clerk of Court conditionally filed Plaintiff Rodney R. Baumgartner's Complaint as a result of Plaintiff's status as an inmate. The Court now reviews the Complaint to determine whether it should be summarily dismissed in whole or in part under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Having reviewed the record, and otherwise being fully informed, the Court enters the following Order directing Plaintiff to file an 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). The Court is not bound to accept a Complaint's legal conclusions. Id. at 678 (“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”).

         “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 an inmate currently confined in the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center in Burley, Idaho. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Matt Love, a police officer, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights and Idaho state law by not arresting another person. (Compl., Dkt. 3, at 2.) It appears that Officer Love could have arrested the individual but instead used her as a confidential informant. Plaintiff states that Officer Love used this individual “to secure a search warrant on [Plaintiff's] property.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims that Officer Love lied and committed extortion and fraud against Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant McCord Larsen, a prosecuting attorney in Cassia County, accompanied a drug task force when it searched Plaintiff's home. Larsen also allegedly “influenc[ed] the testimony and charges of the Drug Task Force” and committed prosecutorial misconduct. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff asserts that the search warrant was invalid, and he claims injuries in the form of his “present jail term and loss of social security and property.” (Id.)

         4. Discussion

         Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to proceed with the Complaint. The Court will, however, grant Plaintiff 28 days to amend the Complaint. Any amended complaint should take into consideration the following.

         A. Section 1983 Claims

         Plaintiff brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the civil rights statute. To state a plausible civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute proximately caused by conduct of a person acting under color of state law. Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). To be liable under § 1983, “the defendant must possess a purposeful, a knowing, or possibly a reckless state of mind.” Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2472 (2015). Negligence is not actionable under ยง 1983, because a negligent act by a public official is ...


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