United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
GREGORY L. MARKS PLAINTIFF
OFFICER CHAVEZ (Gurdon, Arkansas), DEPUTY TOBY LNU (Clark County Sheriff's Office), DWAN MORGAN (Arkansas Community Correction Parole Officer), and JOE KHAUN (Arkansas Community Correction Parole Supervisor) DEFENDANTS
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma
pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to
the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011),
the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge,
referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of
making a Report and Recommendation.
case is before the Court for preservice screening under the
provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the
obligation to screen any Complaint in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
filed his Complaint on August 30, 2018. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Department of
Community Correction Omega Technical Violator Center and is
awaiting trial on his pending criminal charges. (Id.
at 4). Plaintiff alleges Defendant Chavez wrongfully arrested
him for the theft of a car. (Id. at 5). He alleges
Defendant Morgan revoked his parole under false pretenses.
(Id.). He alleges Defendant Khaun permitted him to
be incarcerated under false pretenses. (Id. at 6).
Finally, he alleges Defendant Toby knew he “was in no
state” to be driving anything stole[n]” because
he was intoxicated. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff alleges he
was merely “an easy target due to my background.”
proceeds against Defendants Chavez, Morgan, and Khaun in
their official capacity. (Id. at 5-6). He proceeds
against Defendant Toby in both official and personal
capacity. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff seeks compensatory
damages for pain and suffering. (Id. at 8).
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to
service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a
complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that:
(1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or, (2) seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). A claim fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted if it does not allege “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “In evaluating whether a pro
se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a
claim, we hold ‘a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded ... to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Jackson
v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). Even a
pro se Plaintiff must allege specific facts
sufficient to support a claim. Martin v. Sargent,
780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
claims are barred by the Younger abstention
doctrine. The Younger doctrine “directs
federal courts to abstain from accepting jurisdiction in
cases where granting [equitable relief] would interfere with
pending state proceedings” involving important state
interests. Night Clubs, Inc. v. City of Fort
Smith, Ark., 163 F.3d 475, 477 n.1 (8th Cir. 1998). The
Younger abstention doctrine is a reflection of the
public policy that disfavors federal court interference with
state judicial proceedings and is based on the principles of
comity and federalism. See Ronwin v. Dunham, 818
F.2d 675, 677 (8th Cir. 1987).
factors must be determined affirmatively to result in
abstention under Younger: (1) there must be an
ongoing state judicial proceeding which (2) implicates
important state interests, and (3) that proceeding must
afford an adequate opportunity to raise the federal questions
presented. Fuller v. Ulland, 76 F.3d 957, 959 (8th
Cir. 1996). If all three factors are met, the federal court
must abstain unless it detects “bad faith, harassment,
or some extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention
inappropriate.” Middlesex Cnty. Ethics Comm. v.
Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 435 (1982).
This bad faith exception “must be construed narrowly
and only invoked in extraordinary circumstances.”
Aaron v. Target Corp., 357 F.3d 768, 778-79 (8th
Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted).
claim involves an ongoing state criminal proceeding against
Plaintiff. The state clearly has an important interest in
enforcing its criminal laws, and Plaintiff has given no
indication that he is in some way prohibited or prevented
from raising his constitutional claims during the state
criminal proceedings. See Conley v. Hiland, No.
4:15-cv0359-SWW, 2015 WL 4096152, at *1 (E.D. Ark. July 7,
2015). There is no indication of bad faith or any other
extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention
inappropriate. Because Plaintiff seeks only monetary damages,
traditional abstention practices generally favor a stay of
this case rather than outright dismissal. See Night
Clubs, Inc., 163 F.3d at 481. Thus, the Court should
stay and administratively terminate this federal case until
the pending state criminal charges are resolved. See
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., 179 F.3d at 603-04;
Conley, 2015 WL 4096152, at *1; Dunkin v.
Morales, No. 1:11-cv-0010-JMM, 2011 WL 719016, at *2
(E.D. Ark. Feb. 22, 2011).