Case: 20-40280 Document: 00515768746 Page: 1 Date Filed: 03/05/2021
United States Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals
March 5, 2021
No. 20-40280 Lyle W. Cayce
Summary Calendar Clerk
William Stephens, Individually and in his/her official capacity;
Madeline Ortiz, Individually and in his/her official capacity,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Texas
USDC No. 1:16-CV-104
Before Haynes, Willett, and Ho, Circuit Judges.
Erick Lawson, former Texas prisoner # 00570246, appeals the district
court’s grant of a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant William Stephens and
the dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. His complaint
Pursuant to 5th Circuit Rule 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion
should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set
forth in 5th Circuit Rule 47.5.4.
Case: 20-40280 Document: 00515768746 Page: 2 Date Filed: 03/05/2021
was dismissed with prejudice for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). We review the district court’s dismissal de
novo. See Raj v. La. State Univ.,
714 F.3d 322
, 327, 329-30 (5th Cir. 2013).
In his § 1983 complaint, Lawson contended that the defendants
violated his constitutional rights and his rights under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA) when they denied
him access to rehabilitative programs and services including a sex offender
treatment program. Lawson’s appellate brief provides only conclusional
accusations to support his general assertions that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights and rights under the ADA and RA, which accusations
are insufficient to show that he stated a claim for relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662
, 678 (2009).
Furthermore, Lawson does not challenge the district court’s
conclusions that (i) the Eleventh Amendment barred the recovery of
monetary damages from the defendants in their official capacities; (ii) the
defendants were entitled to qualified immunity; (iii) the theory of respondeat
superior was not viable under § 1983; and (iv) relief against individual
defendants was not available under the ADA or the RA. Although pro se
briefs are afforded liberal construction, even pro se litigants must brief
arguments in order to preserve them. Yohey v. Collins,
985 F.2d 222
(5th Cir. 1993). Accordingly, Lawson has abandoned those issues. See
Brinkmann v. Dallas Cnty. Deputy Sheriff Abner,
813 F.2d 744
, 748 (5th Cir.
1987). Additionally, he fails to establish that the district court abused its wide
discretion by declining to exercise jurisdiction over any remaining state law
Case: 20-40280 Document: 00515768746 Page: 3 Date Filed: 03/05/2021
claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Heggemeier v. Caldwell Cnty., Tex.,
826 F.3d 861
, 872 (5th Cir. 2016).1
The district court’s judgment is AFFIRMED.
Because of Lawson’s failures, we did not have to consider the Government’s
letter brief’s failure to address the correct case in the brief’s Section III and IV.