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Wilder v. Hardges

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division

August 5, 2019

RICHARD DEE WILDER, SID # 345951, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL HARDGES, ET AL., Defendants.

          SHOW CAUSE ORDER

          ELIZABETH S. ("BETSY") CHESTNEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Civil Rights Complaint [#1] filed by the Plaintiff, Richard Dee Wilder (“Plaintiff”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is ordered to file an amended complaint clarifying his allegations and, to the extent possible, curing the Complaint's legal deficiencies, which are described below.

         I. Legal Standard

         According to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), this Court is required to screen any civil complaint in which a prisoner seeks relief against a government entity, officer, or employee and dismiss the complaint if the court determines it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. See also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (directing court to dismiss case filed in forma pauperis at any time if it is determined that the action is (i) frivolous or malicious or (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted).

         An action is frivolous where there is no arguable legal or factual basis for the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.” Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716, 718 (5th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation and citation omitted). A complaint is factually frivolous when “the facts alleged are ‘fantastic or delusional scenarios' or the legal theory upon which a complaint relies is ‘indisputably meritless.'” Eason v. Thaler, 14 F.3d 8, n.5 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28).

         In evaluating whether a complaint states a claim under § 1915A(b)(1) and § 1915(e)(2)(B), this Court applies the same standards governing dismissals pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). See DeMoss v. Crain, 636 F.3d 145, 152 (5th Cir. 2011). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56, 570 (2007)). These factual allegations need not be detailed but “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A conclusory complaint-one that fails to state material facts or merely recites the elements of a cause of action-may be dismissed for failure to state a claim. See Id. at 555-56.

         II. Deficiencies in Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff's § 1983 Complaint states: He was arrested on May 8, 2018 for possession of a controlled substance and pursuant to a parole violator's warrant. The parole warrant has been lifted but Plaintiff alleges it was in effect for six and a half months past his parole discharge date. He remains in BCADC custody awaiting trial on the possession of a controlled substance case. Plaintiff alleges if the parole warrant had been lifted on his discharge date of June 6, 2018, he would have been able to make bail on the possession charge and would have been released. Plaintiff sues Parole Board Analyst Michael Hardges, Parole Warrants Officer Lela Smith, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division (“TDCJ-CID”) Classification and Records Department Supervisor Charles Valdez seeking “reimbursement for lost wages and loss of freedom for the last 13 months.”

         As is explained above, an IFP plaintiff's complaint is considered frivolous and is subject to dismissal if it fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. In this case, Plaintiff's claims currently have the following deficiencies:

         a. The Parole Board and the Defendants in their official capacities are immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment.

         The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against a state. A claim against the Parole Board or the Defendants in their official capacities, is, in effect, a claim against the State of Texas, and is barred by Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity. See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 69-71 & n.10 (1989).

         b. Parole Board personnel Hardges and Smith are absolutely immune from suit in their individual capacities for their role in the revocation process.

         The parole revocation warrant that Plaintiff challenges was issued under the authority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. It is well settled that the Board of Pardons and Paroles members and their personnel-in their individual capacities-are absolutely immune when performing their adjudicative function, which includes the parole revocation procedure and conduct “inexorably connected with the execution of parole revocation procedures.” Hulsey v. Owens, 63 F.3d 354, 356-57 (5th Cir. 1995). Therefore, Defendants Hardges and Smith are absolutely immune from suit in their individual capacities for their roles in acting on behalf of the Board of Pardons and Paroles in issuing the parole revocation warrant. See id.

         c. Plaintiff failed to allege a basis for suing the TDCJ-CID ...


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