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Moon v. Pratte

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

August 26, 2014

DARNELL MOON, Plaintiff,
v.
BARRON PRATTE, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon review of plaintiff's amended complaint [Doc. # 26] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After reviewing the amended complaint, the Court will partially dismiss the amended complaint and will allow plaintiff to proceed with the non-frivolous portions of the amended complaint. See 28 U.S.C. 1915A(b).

28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must dismiss a complaint filed by a person in custody if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). An action is malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D. N.C. 1987), aff'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987).

To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). These include "legal conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 1949. Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 1950-51. This is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is required to plead facts that show more than the "mere possibility of misconduct." Id. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint "to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief." Id. at 1951. When faced with alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its judgment in determining whether plaintiffs conclusion is the most plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950, 51-52.

The Amended Complaint

Plaintiff, a detainee at Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health Treatment Center (referred to by plaintiff as "SEMO CTC"), filed the instant action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983[1], alleging violations of his civil rights.[2] Plaintiff brings this action against fourteen (14) named defendants, in their individual and official capacities, many of which appear to be employees of SEMO CTC.[3] Plaintiff seeks both monetary and injunctive relief in his complaint.

The named defendants in plaintiffs amended complaint are: Paul M. Laird (Regional Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP)); Kathy Huesler[4] (Residential Re-Entry Contract Oversight Specialist, BOP); Victor Vega (Residential Re-Entry Manager, SEMO CTC); Barron E. Pratte (President and CEO of SEMO CTC); Jason W. Gilliam (Vice President of SEMO CTC); Karen Auner (Director of Federal Community Re-Entry Services Division at SEMO CTC); Bradley Lott (Electronic Monitoring Specialist, CTC); Amy Walp (Federal Case Manager); Walter Spitzmiller (Federal Case Manager); Jeffrey Burgert (Federal Case Manager); Heather Garner (Federal Case Manager); Steve Thomas (Residential Re-Entry Specialist); Jerry Creamer (SEMO Behavioral Health Federal Technician); and Toni Smith (Federal Probation Officer).

Plaintiff claims that defendants Auner, Garner, Lott, Walp, Spitzmiller and Burgert retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights when they: (1) denied him passes for outside visitation and restricted his movements at CTC; (2) denied him placement on home confinement; (3) created a false incident report/probation violation in order to have his probation revoked so that he would be placed in Cape Girardeau County Jail. Plaintiff claims that defendants acted in such a manner due to him having filed grievances, as well as a prior lawsuit against them.

Plaintiff asserts that defendants Auner, Garner, Lott, Walp, Burgert and Spitzmiller denied him the ability to exercise his religious beliefs, under the First Amendment, by: (1) failing to provide him with "halal" foods; (2) failing to provide him with a clean place to pray; (3) failing to provide plaintiff with a place to make "Wudu"; (4) failing to provide plaintiff with Islamic religious materials; and (5) failing to allow plaintiff to go to a mosque in St. Louis; failing to allow plaintiff to have an Imam, or Muslim speaker, come to SEMO CTC.

Plaintiff claims that defendants Auner, Lott, Garner, Walp, Burgert and Spitzmiller violated his rights under the First Amendment Establishment Clause when they allowed Christian Speakers to come to SEMO CTC to speak to inmates but denied his request to have a Muslim speak to inmates at SEMO CTC.

Plaintiff alleges that defendants Auner, Lott, Garner, Walp, Burgert and Spitzmiller denied his due process rights when they: (1) restricted his movement via GPS and placed an ankle bracelet on him without providing him notice and opportunity to be heard; (2) restricted his movement via the "pass system"; and (3) had his parole revoked and had him placed in the Cape Girardeau County Jail on a "fabricated incident report" without providing him a "DHO" hearing.

Plaintiff further alleges a "class of one" violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against defendants Auner, Lott, Garner, Walp, Burgert and Spitzmiller because he believes these defendants "singled plaintiff out" for arbitrary treatment without a rational basis for doing so by: (1) denying him the right to freely exercise his religion; (2) denying him home confinement; (3) retaliating against plaintiff for exercising his rights under the First Amendment in having complained about the prior violations of his rights; (4) and revoking his probation and placing him in jail on a "fabricated" incident report.

Plaintiff asserts that his rights under the Equal Protection Clause were similarly violated when defendants Auner, Garner and Lott placed an ankle bracelet on him "because of his religious beliefs." He asserts that he was "discriminated against" under the Equal Protection Clause, " based on his Muslim religious beliefs, when defendants Auner, Garner, Lott, Burgert, Walp and Spitzmiller: (1) denied him religious provisions; (2) denied him access to ...


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