United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2). Having
reviewed the plaintiff's in forma pauperis
affidavit (doc. 2), this court finds that the plaintiff
qualifies as a pauper and GRANTS plaintiff's motion to
proceed without payment of the filing fee.
court has an obligation to review sua sponte the
merits of in forma pauperis matters. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B), a court must dismiss a case at any
time, notwithstanding filing fees, if “the action or
appeal is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief.” A
frivolous claim “lacks an arguable basis either in law
or in fact… [and] embraces not only the inarguable
legal conclusion, but also the fanciful factual
allegation.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989).
the court is required to show leniency to a pro se
plaintiff's pleadings, her complaint is still
“subject to the relevant law and rules of court,
including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”
Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989).
Pro se complaints must “comply with the procedural
rules that govern pleadings.” Beckwith v. Bellsouth
Telecomms. Inc., 146 Fed.Appx. 368, 371 (11th Cir.
2005). Under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
a plaintiff must plead more “than labels and
conclusions… Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii), a court must dismiss a
claim by a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis if
the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted or if the complaint seek monetary relief from an
abundance of caution, the court grants the plaintiff's
motions to amend (docs. 5 & 6) and will address, in this
order, her claims against the defendants included in those
amendments. In this case, the pro se complaints consist of 41
pages of allegations against 19 defendants. After carefully
reviewing the complaint, the court ORDERS as follows:
1. The court DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE as a matter of law the
plaintiff's causes of action relating to any federal or
state crimes because criminal statutes do not create a
private right of action in a private citizen to file criminal
charges. See, e.g., Adventure Outdoors, Inc. v.
Bloomberg, 552 F.3d 1290, 1303 (11th Cir. 2008)
(rejecting notion that Congress authorized “a federal
private right of action any time a civil plaintiff invokes a
federal criminal statute”).
2. The court DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE as a matter of law all
claims against the defendant Probate Judge Billy Atkinson in
his official capacity, based on judicial immunity. As alleged
in the Complaint, Judge Atkinson was acting within his
judicial capacity; the acts of which the plaintiff complains
constituted judicial functions involving cases pending before
him. See Sibley v. Lando, 437 F.3d 1067, 1070-71
(11th Cir. 2005) (explaining that judges involved in normal
judicial functions involving cases pending before them are
entitled to judicial immunity absent a “clear absence
of jurisdiction”). The plaintiff failed to allege a
claim upon which relief can be granted against this defendant
because she makes no claim that the defendant acted outside
of his judicial capacity.
3. The court DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE all claims against
the Talladega Police Department and Talladega County
Sheriff's Department for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated her Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights when they unlawfully incarcerated
her, arrested her without a warrant, and failed to give her
bail. However, the plaintiff offers these allegations as mere
conclusions with no supporting facts and fails to
sufficiently allege that the municipality or the police
department had a wide-spread custom or practice that
constitutes deliberate indifference to constitutional rights.
See McDowell v. Brown, 392 F.3d 1283, 1289 (11th
Cir. 2004) (“To impose § 1983 liability on a
municipality, a plaintiff must show… that the
municipality had a custom or policy that constituted
deliberate indifference to that constitutional right…
and… that the policy or custom caused the
violation.”) (emphasis added).
4. The court DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE all § 1983
claims against the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH)
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. The plaintiff seeks to hold ADMH responsible for the
actions of Doris Holmes, an employee of the department, for
defamation and slander because of the plaintiff's
involuntary commitment to a mental institution. The plaintiff
also alleges that ADMH built property on her
grandfather's land, and wants the “truth to be
ascertained.” These allegations by the plaintiff
against ADMH under § 1983 involve no cognizable
deprivation of federal statutory or constitutional rights.
Therefore, no federal cause of action § 1983 exists for
this allegation against ADMH.
5. The court DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE all claims against
defendants Officers Eric Dean, Jason Freeman, Jason Busby,
Glen Nabors, and David Sparks for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. The plaintiff alleges that
these defendants violated § 1983 by infringing on her
Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, because they
refused to take her statement, did not show her an arrest
warrant, and jailed her for 72 hours without the chance to
The allegations by the plaintiff against these defendants
under § 1983 involve no cognizable deprivation of
federal statutory or constitutional rights. The Eighth
Amendment does not grant a specific right to bail but only
disallows excessive bail. See United States v.
James, 674 F.2d 886, 896 (11th Cir. 1982). Moreover,
officers are entitled to qualified immunity if an arrest is
made with arguable probable cause. See Jones v.
Cannon, 174 F.3d 1271, 1283 (11th Cir.1999).
Here, the claimant does not have a right to bail, and based
on the plaintiff's facts in the complaint, the arresting
officers had arguable probable cause to arrest her for
domestic violence, so they are immune from suit. Therefore,
no federal cause of action exists for this § 1983
allegation against these defendants.
6. The court DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE all § 1983
claims against defendants Doris Holmes, Johnny A. Scales,
Adrienne F. Scales Smith, Dr. Armand Schachter, Margaret Key
Scales, Russell Alan Hamlin, Cinthia Darlene Hamlin,
Brookwood Hospital, the Estate of Helen M. Scales, and Todd
H. Barksdale for failure to state any plausible federal cause
of action upon which relief can be granted. Section 1983
requires that a state actor under color of state law commit
the conduct of which the plaintiff complains. SeeFlagg Brothers, Inc. v. Brooks,436 U.S. 149, 156-57