United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Procedure for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge James M. Moody Jr. Mr. Stompingbear may
file written objections to this Recommendation if he wishes.
Objections should be specific and should include the factual
or legal basis for the objection. To be considered,
objections must be received in the office of the Court Clerk
within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no objections are
filed, Judge Moody can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, Mr.
Stompingbear may waive any right to appeal questions of fact.
Happy Stompingbear,  an inmate housed at the Arkansas
Department of Correction (“ADC”), filed this
§ 1983 lawsuit without the help of a lawyer and is
proceeding in forma pauperis. (Docket entries #1,
PLRA requires federal courts to screen prisoner complaints in
cases such as if the plaintiff seeks relief from a government
entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The
Court must dismiss claims that are legally frivolous or
malicious; that fail to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted; or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from paying damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
When making this determination, a court must accept the truth
of the factual allegations in the complaint, and it may
consider the documents attached to the complaint.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Reynolds v. Dormire, 636 F.3d 976, 979 (8th Cir.
complaint, Mr. Stompingbear complains that on May 26, 2016,
he was taken to administrative segregation and was not
provided the paperwork he needed to file an amended complaint
in a pending lawsuit. (#2) As a result, he alleges, he missed
the deadline to file his amended complaint; and the case was
dismissed. Id. He also complains that Defendants did
not respond to several grievances he filed. Id.
Mr. Stompingbear cannot prevail on his claim that Defendants
denied him access to the courts in violation of his rights.
To prevail on such a claim, a prisoner must show that he
suffered an “actual injury” regarding a
“nonfrivolous and arguably meritorious underlying legal
claim.” White v. Kautzky, 494 F.3d 677, 680
(8th Cir. 2007) (citing Christopher v. Harbury, 536
U.S. 403, 413 (2002)). In this context, “actual
injury” means “actual prejudice with respect to
contemplated or existing litigation, such as the inability to
meet a filing deadline or to present a claim.”
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 355 (1996); see
also Klinger v. Dept. of Corr., 107 F.3d 609, 617 (8th
Stompingbear had one pending lawsuit as of May 26,
2016-Ward v. Kelley, et al., E.D. Ark. No.
5:16-cv-119-KGB (“Ward”). In that case, Mr.
Stompingbear was ordered to file an amended complaint because
he had included several unrelated claims in that one lawsuit.
(5:16-cv-119-KGB, #6) According to court records, Mr.
Stompingbear did miss the deadline for filing his amended
complaint; however, that is not the reason the case was
Ward case, Judge Volpe analyzed the first claim in
Mr. Stompingbear's complaint, that is, his claim of
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and found that
none of the conditions described in the complaint rose to the
level of an eighth amendment violation. (5:16-cv-119-KGB,
#13) Judge Volpe further found that the nine other claims Mr.
Stompingbear had included in his complaint were not
sufficiently related to proceed in a single action and
recommended dismissal of those claims. Id.
Stompingbear filed an objection to Judge Volpe's
recommendation and a proposed amended complaint.
(5:16-cv-119-KGB, #14, #16) In Mr. Stompingbear's
objection, he argued that his claims were sufficiently
related. (5:16-cv-119-KGB, #14) Judge Baker overruled Mr.
Stompingbear's objections, adopting Judge Volpe's
recommendation in its entirety, and found that Mr.
Stompingbear's motion to amend was moot.
Stompingbear's case was not dismissed because he failed
to file a timely amended complaint. For that reason, he has
not stated a claim for denial of access to the courts. He
suffered no actual injury as a result of the lack of supplies
to file papers with the court.
his allegations regarding the Defendants' failure to
follow ADC grievance policy, even if true, do not state a
federal claim for relief. Under settled law, inmates have no
constitutional right to an inmate grievance procedure.
Lomholt v. Holder, 287 F.3d 683, 684 (8th Cir.
2002); Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495 (8th
Cir.1993). Therefore, a prison official's failure to
properly process or respond to a grievance, standing alone,
is not actionable in a civil rights lawsuit such as this.
Court recommends that Mr. Stompingbear's case be
DISMISSED, without prejudice, for failure to state a ...