United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Plaintiff's complaint and more definite
statement. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
OF THE CASE
time he filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, Plaintiff was confined in the Burleson County Jail.
Plaintiff alleges he was arrested by Caldwell City police
officers and held in jail on a faulty arrest warrant.
Plaintiff alleges he was arrested on February 22, 2017, for
failure to appear in court. Although Plaintiff's
complaint is confusing, he appears to allege he should have
been arrested for violating a protective order. He claims he
had to hire an attorney, who was successful in having
Plaintiff released on bail on March 1, 2017. Plaintiff states
he was arrested a few days later “the correct
way” for violation of the protective order. Plaintiff
appears to be alleging he was falsely imprisoned from
February 22, 2017 until March 1, 2017. He sues Sheriff Thomas
Norsworthy, Caldwell City Police Chief Barnes, Justice of the
Peace Towslee and Burleson County Judge Reva C. Towslee.
Plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages.
review of Plaintiff's complaint, the Magistrate Judge
ordered Plaintiff to file a more definite statement,
specifying what each defendant did to violate his
constitutional rights. Plaintiff was also asked to explain
why he believed the judges were not entitled to judicial
more definite statement Plaintiff alleges he was illegally
held in the Burleson County Jail for 21 days as a result of
the Sheriff's negligence. With respect to Chief Barnes,
Plaintiff initially alleges Chief Barnes negligently executed
an invalid warrant of arrest, which was issued by Justice of
the Peace Towslee. However, Plaintiff later clarifies it was
Chief Barnes' officers who executed the affidavit for the
arrest warrant. Plaintiff dismisses Judge Reva C. Towslee as
a defendant and concedes Justice of the Peace Towslee is
protected by judicial immunity. Finally, Plaintiff specifies
he seeks $10, 500 in damages.
Standard Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
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).
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. M Bank Houston, N.A.,
808 F.2d 358, 359 (5th Cir. 1986).
1983 provides a cause of action to individuals whose federal
rights have been violated by those acting under color of
state law. Doe v. Dall. Indep. Sch. Dist., 153 F.3d
211, 215 (5th Cir. 1998). Section 1983 is not itself a source
of substantive rights; rather, it merely provides a method
for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. See
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). In order
to state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must (1)
allege a violation of rights guaranteed by the United States
Constitution or federal law, and (2) demonstrate the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law. Doe, 153 F.3d at 215.
fails to allege any facts showing Sheriff Norsworthy or Chief
Barnes did anything to violate his constitutional rights.
This failure is fatal to his claims. See Brinkmann v.
Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Abner, 813 F.2d 744, 748
(5th Cir. 1987); see also Thompson v. Steele, 709
F.2d 381, 382 (5th Cir. 1983) (observing “[p]ersonal
involvement is an essential element of a civil rights cause
of action”). “Supervisory officials are not
liable under § 1983 for the actions of subordinates on
any theory of vicarious liability”; they must have been
“personally involved in the alleged constitutional
deprivation or have engaged in wrongful conduct that is
causally connected to the constitutional ...