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Foster v. McCown

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

May 3, 2019

ALDOE L. FOSTER #1182920
v.
ANGIE McCOWN, Director Victim Services Division

          THE HONORABLE ROBERT PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MARK LANE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The Magistrate Judge submits this Report and Recommendation to the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Rule 1(f) of Appendix C of the Local Court Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Local Rules for the Assignment of Duties to United States Magistrate Judges.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         At the time he filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff was confined in the Michael Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutions Division (“TDCJ”). He states he worked in a job program at TDCJ from December 6, 2006 to March 29, 2009. During this time, Plaintiff claims deductions from his paycheck were taken for his room and board and for crime victim services in the amount of $15, 000.00. Plaintiff contends the deductions were fraudulent. He seeks the return of his money plus interest. He sues the Director of the Victim Services Division, Angie McCown.

         DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

         A. Standard Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         An in forma pauperis proceeding may be dismissed sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if the court determines the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from suit. A dismissal for frivolousness or maliciousness may occur at any time, before or after service of process and before or after the defendant's answer. Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1116, 1119 (5th Cir. 1986).

         When reviewing a plaintiff's complaint, the court must construe plaintiff's allegations as liberally as possible. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). However, the petitioner's pro se status does not offer him “an impenetrable shield, for one acting pro se has no license to harass others, clog the judicial machinery with meritless litigation and abuse already overloaded court dockets.” Farguson v. MBank Houston, N.A., 808 F.2d 358, 359 (5th Cir. 1986).

         B. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

         To the extent Defendant McCown is sued in her official capacity for monetary damages, Defendant is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment because such an action is the same as a suit against the sovereign. Pennhurst State School Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984). The Eleventh Amendment generally divests federal courts of jurisdiction to entertain suits directed against states. Port Auth. Trans-Hudson v. Feeney, 495 U.S. 299, 304 (1990). The Eleventh Amendment may not be evaded by suing state agencies or state employees in their official capacity because such an indirect pleading remains in essence a claim upon the state treasury. Green v. State Bar of Texas, 27 F.3d 1083, 1087 (5th Cir. 1994).

         C. Statute of Limitations

         There is no federal statute of limitations for § 1983 actions. Piotrowski v. City of Houston, 51 F.3d 512, 514 n.5 (5th Cir. 1995); Henson-El v. Rogers, 923 F.2d 51, 52 (5th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 501 U.S. 1235 (1991). Therefore, the Supreme Court has directed federal courts to borrow the forum state's general personal injury limitations period. Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-50, (1989). In Texas, the applicable limitations period is two years. Moore v. McDonald, 30 F.3d 616, 620 (5th Cir. 1994) (citing Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 16.003(a) (Vernon 1986)). Nevertheless, federal law determines when a § 1983 cause of action accrues. Gartrell v. Gaylor, 981 F.2d 254, 257 (5th Cir . ...


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