United States District Court, D. Colorado
January 15, 2014
CHESTER LEE HUGGINS, Plaintiff,
JOHN F. REILLY, 4941, ANDY KLINKERMAN, 4924, BRIAN GRAHAM, and MISS. FALK, Warden of Limon Corr. Fac., Defendants.
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
BOYD N. BOLAND, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Chester Lee Huggins, is a prisoner in the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections at the Sterling Correctional Facility in Sterling, Colorado. Mr. Huggins has filed pro se a Prisoner Complaint (ECF No.) claiming his rights under the United States Constitution have been violated.
The court must construe the Prisoner Complaint liberally because Mr. Huggins is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the court should not be an advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. For the reasons stated below, Mr. Huggins will be ordered to file an amended complaint if he wishes to pursue his claims in this action.
The court has reviewed the Prisoner Complaint and finds that the Prisoner Complaint does not comply with the pleading requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The twin purposes of a complaint are to give the opposing parties fair notice of the basis for the claims against them so that they may respond and to allow the court to conclude that the allegations, if proven, show that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Monument Builders of Greater Kansas City, Inc. v. American Cemetery Ass'n of Kansas, 891 F.2d 1473, 1480 (10th Cir. 1989). The requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 are designed to meet these purposes. See TV Communications Network, Inc. v. ESPN, Inc., 767 F.Supp. 1062, 1069 (D. Colo. 1991), aff'd, 964 F.2d 1022 (10th Cir. 1992). Specifically, Rule 8(a) provides that a complaint "must contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, ... (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought." The philosophy of Rule 8(a) is reinforced by Rule 8(d)(1), which provides that "[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." Taken together, Rules 8(a) and (d)(1) underscore the emphasis placed on clarity and brevity by the federal pleading rules. Prolix, vague, or unintelligible pleadings violate Rule 8.
Mr. Huggins fails to provide a short and plain statement of his claims showing that he is entitled to relief because he fails to allege clearly and concisely how each Defendant personally participated in the asserted violations of his rights. Because Mr. Huggins is asserting constitutional claims against Defendants in their individual capacities, allegations of "personal participation in the specific constitutional violation complained of [are] essential." Henry v. Storey, 658 F.3d 1235, 1241 (10th Cir. 2011). Mr. Huggins' vague assertions that Defendants discriminated and retaliated against him are not sufficient to demonstrate personal participation by each named Defendant. Therefore, Mr. Huggins will be ordered to file an amended complaint.
Mr. Huggins must allege with respect to each claim he asserts in the amended complaint "what each defendant did to him or her; when the defendant did it; how the defendant's action harmed him or her; and, what specific legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant violated." Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007). Furthermore, the general rule that pro se pleadings must be construed liberally has limits and "the court cannot take on the responsibility of serving as the litigant's attorney in constructing arguments and searching the record." Garrett v. Selby Connor Maddux & Janer, 425 F.3d 836, 840 (10th Cir. 2005). Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that Mr. Huggins file, within thirty (30) days from the date of this order, an amended complaint as directed in this order. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that Mr. Huggins shall obtain the court-approved Prisoner Complaint form (with the assistance of his case manager or the facility's legal assistant), along with the applicable instructions, at www.cod.uscourts.gov. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that, if Mr. Huggins fails to file an amended complaint that complies with this order within the time allowed, the action will be dismissed without further notice.