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USCA1 Opinion

February 9, 1996

[NOT FOR PUBLICATION]

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS


FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

____________________

No. 95-2194

RONALD L'HEUREUX,

Plaintiff, Appellant,

v.

LEO ASHTON, ET AL.,

Defendants, Appellees.

____________________

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND

[Hon. Ronald R. Lagueux, U.S. District Judge]


___________________

____________________

Before

Selya, Cyr and Lynch,


Circuit Judges.
______________

____________________

Ronald L'Heureux on brief pro se.


________________

____________________

____________________

Per Curiam.
__________

Appellant Ronald

at the Adult Correctional

L'Heureux, an inmate

Institution in Rhode Island, filed

42 U.S.C.

1983 action in Rhode Island's federal district

court, along with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis.


_________________

The

complaint,

the

besides

naming

the

jurisdictional bases of the

references

to

the

parties

and

citing

action, contains only conclusory

nature

of

appellant's

claims.

It

essentially alleges that (1) defendants (various correctional

officials)

manufactured

appellant,

(2)

disciplinary

appellant spent

120

appellant was denied reclassification,

proceedings

days

against

in lock-up,

(3)

and (4) at least some

of these actions were taken for the purpose of discrimination

and

retaliation.

The district court denied the request to proceed in


__

forma pauperis, stating on the back


_______________

of the application that

"the

allegations are

cause of action."

defendants.

insufficient

to set

federal

The next day, judgment was entered for the

Thus, the

only reason given for dismissing

complaint is the above-quoted language.

forth a

dismissal under 28 U.S.C.

1915(d).

the

We construe this as

Appellant then filed

a motion for relief from judgment and to amend the complaint,

and

a motion to reconsider

status.

the events

The amended

upon

which

district court denied

the denial of

in forma pauperis
_________________

complaint added allegations concerning

appellant

based the

these motions.

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action.

The

This appeal ensued and

appellant

now

requests

permission

to

proceed

in forma
_________

pauperis on appeal.
________

Despite its brevity, the complaint should not

been dismissed under

notice

have

1915(d) without first giving appellant

of the deficiency and

an opportunity to

amend.

See
___

Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 329-30 (1989) (emphasizing


_______
________

the

importance of

providing

opportunities

for

responsive

pleadings

to

indigent

litigants

commensurate

opportunities accorded similarly situated

Street
______

v. Fair,
____

curiam)

be

918

F.2d 269,

(where the complaint's

273

to

the

paying litigants);

(1st Cir.

1990)

(per

deficiency conceivably could

cured by amendment, an indigent plaintiff must be given a

chance

to

supplement

dismissal

on

allegations

his

or her

the merits).

in the

allegations

Particularly

amended

complaint, we

before

in view

of

cannot say

any

the

that

appellant will be unable to state a cognizable claim.

In

alleges

acting

the

that

amended complaint,

prison officials

as a jail-house lawyer.

recognized such

claims.

appellant specifically

retaliated

against him

This court

See, e.g., McDonald


___ ____ ________

for

and others have

v. Hall,
____

610

F.2d

16, 18 (1st Cir.

result

himself

asserted that as a

of his activities as a jail-house lawyer on behalf of

and others,

stated a claim even

Gibbs
_____

1979) (inmate who

v.

Hopkins,
_______

he

was transferred

to another

prison

though the allegations were conclusory);

10

F.3d

-3-

373,

378

(6th

Cir.

1993)

(government

official

may

segregation

against

an

not

retaliate

inmate

who

by

the

engages

use

in

of

the

constitutionally protected

conduct of assisting

others as a

jail-house

v. Dawson,
______

527, 531-32

lawyer); Rizzo
_____

(9th Cir. 1985) (the assertion

in retaliation for his

claim

for

retaliatory

goals).

not

violation

act

did

778 F.2d

that an inmate's transfer was

work as a jail-house lawyer

of

the

First

not

advance

Amendment

stated a

where

the

legitimate institutional

Although the chronology still is vague so that it is

clear

disciplinary

whether

appellant's

proceedings,

such

activities

an

omission

failure to state a claim, not frivolousness.

triggered

goes

to

the

the

See Leonardo v.
___ ________

Moran, 611 F.2d 397, 398 (1st Cir. 1979) (plaintiff failed to

_____

state

1983 claim for retaliation based on the conclusory

allegation that due to earlier filed grievances in the United

States district court, he was transferred to maximum security

and

that

denied access to

"but for"

transferred).

implicate

grievances,

Appellant's

transferred to

and for

the

the courts;

he

would

allegations

not

that

segregation for the possession

his activities

the

plaintiff failed

as a jail-house

First

Amendment

to show

have

been

he

was

of legal mail

lawyer sufficiently

and

overcome

the

characterization of the complaint as frivolous.

We therefore grant appellant's motion to proceed in


__

forma pauperis
______________

on appeal,

summarily vacate the

judgment of

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the district court, and remand for

Local Rule 27.1.

the elements

not depend

further proceedings.

The discussion herein alerts

of a viable

merely on

retaliation claim.

vague

Gooley v. Mobil Oil Corp.,


______
________________

See
___

appellant to

Appellant may

and general

allegations.

See
___

851 F.2d 513,

514-15 (1st

Cir.

1988).

Vacated and remanded.


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