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Jones v. Brown

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

June 16, 2017

LARRY JOE JONES, (TDCJ-CID #2005311) Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD RAY BROWN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM ON DISMISSAL

          ALFRED H. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Background

         Larry Joe Jones, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate, sued in June 20017, alleging civil rights violations resulting from a deprivation of property. Jones, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, sues Donald Ray Brown. Jones asserts that in 2015, Jones gave his brother, Donald Ray Brown, power of attorney so that Brown could close Jones's 4Ol(k) account. Jones asked Brown to send the funds from his 4Ol(k), in the amount of $6, 000.00, to him in prison. Jones states that to date he has not received the funds from his brother.

         Jones seeks to recover his $6, 000.00 as well as unspecified compensatory damages.

         II. Discussion

         A district court must dismiss a prisoner's § 1983 complaint if the action is malicious or frivolous, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Under § l9l5(e)(2)(B)(i), the court may dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint as frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Hutchins v. McDaniels, 512 F.3d 193, 195 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing Black v. Warren, 134 F.3d 732, 734 (5th Cir. 1998)). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Richardson v. Spurlock, 260 F.3d 495, 498 (5th Cir. 2001) (citing Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d 191, 193 (5th Cir. 1997)). "A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges the violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist." Davis v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting McCormickv. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir. 1997)).

         A cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 requires a showing that Jones has been deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and that the deprivation was caused by someone acting under color of state law. Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137 (1979).

         Generally, nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause requires the state to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors. Piotrowski v. City of Houston, 51 F.3d 512, 515 (5th Cir. l995)(citing DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Social Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 195 (1989)). The Due Process Clause confers protection to the general public against unwarranted governmental interference, but it does not confer an entitlement to governmental aid as may be necessary to realize the advantages of liberty guaranteed by the Clause. Walton v. Alexander, 44 F.3d 1297, 1302 (5th Cir. l995)(en banc).

         The actions of private actors such as the named defendant do not constitute state action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 329 (1983). Jones has failed to demonstrate that he has been deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and that the deprivation was caused by someone acting under color of state law. Jones's claims against the named defendant are DISMISSED as frivolous.

         III. Conclusion

         Jones's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, (Docket Entry No. 2), is GRANTED. The action filed by Larry Joe Jones (TDCJ-CID Inmate #2005311) lacks an arguable basis in law. His claims are DISMISSED with prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § l9l5(e)(2)(B)(i).

         The TDCJ-CID shall continue to deduct twenty percent of each deposit made to Jones's inmate trust account and forward payments to the court on a regular basis, provided the account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee obligation of $350.00 is paid in full.

         The Clerk will provide a copy of this order by regular mail, facsimile transmission, or e-mail to:

         (1) the TDCJ - Office of the General Counsel, Capitol Station, P.O. Box 13084, ...


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