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Skinner v. St. Mary's Medical Center-Scl-Health Incorp Services

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 2, 2019

LORI A. SKINNER, Plaintiff,
v.
ST MARY'S MEDICAL CENTER-SCL-HEALTH INCORP SERVICES, Defendant.

          RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DISMISSAL

          Gordon P. Gallagher, United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the Complaint (ECF No. 1).[1] Plaintiff proceeds pro se. The matter has been referred to this Magistrate Judge for recommendation (ECF No. 6).[2] The Court has considered the entire case file, the applicable law, and is sufficiently advised in the premises. This Magistrate Judge respectfully recommends that the Complaint be dismissed without prejudice.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

          Plaintiff, Lori A. Skinner, resides in DeBeque, Colorado. She initiated this action on March 18, 2019, by filing pro se a Complaint (ECF No. 1) and an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Long Form) (ECF No. 3). Ms. Skinner has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF No. 4).

         Ms. Skinner alleges in the Complaint that medical staff at St. Mary's Medical Center acted with “gross negligence” when she sought emergency room treatment in September 2018. Plaintiff does not explain how the medical providers were negligent. Ms. Skinner claims that the Defendant violated 19 U.S.C. § 1592, and alleges that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over her claim(s) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. She requests monetary and injunctive relief.

         On March 19, 2019, the Court ordered Ms. Skinner to file an Amended Complaint within 30 days because her original Complaint failed to comply with the pleading requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 4).

         Ms. Skinner did not file an amended pleading by the deadline and she has not communicated with the Court since she initiated this action. Therefore, the Court reviews the sufficiency of the original Complaint filed on March 18, 2019.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Pro se Litigant

         The Court construes the original Complaint liberally because Ms. Skinner is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 52021 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the Court will not act as an advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.

         B. Rule 8 Pleading Requirements

         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 Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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). 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.

         To comply with Rule 8, a complaint must explain what the defendant did to the plaintiff; when the defendant di it; how the defendant's action harmed the plaintiff; and, what specific legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant violated. See Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007).

         A pro se litigant's vague and conclusory allegations that his or her rights have been violated does not entitle the litigant to a day in court regardless of how liberally the pleadings are construed. See Ketchum v. Cruz, 775 F.Supp. 1399, 1403 (D. Colo. 1991)), aff'd, 961 F.2d 916 (10th Cir. 1992). “[I]n analyzing the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint, the court need accept as true only the ...


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