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Turner v. Baker

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

April 18, 2018

DENNIS TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
GOVERNOR CHARLIE BAKER MIKE WARE, CAVKIL BROMFIELD, JAY WHITE, and ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          WILLIAM G. YOUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         For the reasons stated below, the Court will allow the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, allow plaintiffs motion to amend the complaint, dismiss the action sua sponte, and deny the motions for appointment of pro bono counsel as moot.

         I. Background

          On November 28, 2017, pro se plaintiff Dennis Turner filed a complaint against defendants Mike Ware (private security firm owner), Cavkil Bromfield (private security guard), Jay White (Burger King franchise owner), Attorney General Maura Healey and Governor Charlie Baker. Currently pending before the Court are a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, two motions for for the appointment of pro bono counsel, and a motion to amend the complaint.

         The proposed amended complaint is virtually identical to the original complaint. Turner alleges that on February 12, 2017 he was a homeless person looking to warm up at a Burger King in Boston. He claims that he did not have any money to purchase food or drink at the Burger King and was forcibly removed by defendant Bromfield. Upon his removal, MBTA Police arrested him on allegedly false statements made by Bromfield that Turner had spit on him. Turner was taken to a Boston Police station and made to wait in the transport until he could be processed by the Boston Police. At some point, MBTA officers released Turner apparently without being processed. Although plaintiff claims that this incident is an example of "police abuse, " he has not sued any of the police officers.

         Three months later, on May 18, 2017, Tuner was arrested on a warrant concerning the assault after being stopped by local police in Chelsea, Massachusetts. After several court appearances at which Bromfield did not appear, the charges were dismissed. Turner was assessed a court fee of $150, and was permitted to perform 15 hours of community service in lieu of payment of the fee. Turner chose to perform community service. Turner seeks only monetary relief against the defendants.

          II. Discussion

          A. Plaintiffs Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis

         Plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 7) is meritorious and it is hereby allowed.

         B. Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint

         Plaintiffs motion for leave to file an amended complaint (ECF No. 8) is hereby allowed. Plaintiff may amend his complaint once as a matter of course without leave of court. See. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Accordingly, the motion to amend is allowed, and the proposed Amended Complaint, ECF No. 8-1, will be docketed by the Clerk as the operative pleading.

         C Preliminary Screening of the Amended Complaint

         Because plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, his amended complaint is subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). In connection with this preliminary screening, plaintiffs pro se Amended Complaint is construed generously. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Instituto de Educacion Universal Corp. v. U.S. Dept. of Education, 209 F.3d 18, 23 (1st Cir. 2000).

         1. Eleventh Amendment Immunity Bars Official Capacity Monetary Damages Claims Under 42 U.S.C. ...


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