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Anthony v. Northeast Correctional Center

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

October 22, 2014

MARCUS TREMAYNE ANTHONY, Plaintiff,
v.
NORTHEAST CORRECTIONAL CENTER, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CATHERINE D. PERRY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon the motion of Marcus Anthony (registration no. 1126307), an inmate at Northeast Correctional Center, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.70. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, the Court will require plaintiff to file an amended complaint or face summary dismissal of this action.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of plaintiff's account indicates an average monthly deposit of $8.50, and an average monthly balance of less than $8.50. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.70, which is 20 percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis 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). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

The Complaint

Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Northeast Correctional Center ("NECC") and fifteen individual officials at NECC. The complaint is difficult to review because it has not been drafted in a manner that complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Plaintiff brings a wide range of allegations against NECC's officials. Plaintiff alleges that he was negligently written up for sexual harassment, which resulted in the loss of his conditional release date. He maintains that he was subsequently denied due process in the conduct violation hearing. Plaintiff also alleges that he was denied daily exercise while he was in administrative segregation for three months. He complains that he was improperly restrained while visiting a hospital. And many of his complaints concern the denial of grievances. The vast majority of the allegations are stated as legal conclusions, not facts. For example, plaintiff repeatedly describes defendants actions as "negligent."

Discussion

1. Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can be Granted

The complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The complaint is silent as to whether defendants are being sued in their official or individual capacities. Where a "complaint is silent about the capacity in which [plaintiff] is suing defendant, [a district court must] interpret the complaint as including only official-capacity claims." Egerdahl v. Hibbing Community College , 72 F.3d 615, 619 (8th Cir. 1995); Nix v. Norman , 879 F.2d 429, 431 (8th Cir. 1989). Naming a government official in his or her official capacity is the equivalent of naming the government entity that employs the official, in this case the State of Missouri. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police , 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). "[N]either a State nor its officials acting in their official capacity are persons' under § 1983." Id . Therefore, the complaint is dismissible under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

Moreover, plaintiff does not have a right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment unless he has a protected life, liberty or property interest. A liberty interest may arise from the Constitution itself or from state laws. Wilkinson v. Austin , 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005). Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to conditional release. Greenholtz v. Inmates of Nebraska Penal and Correctional Complex , 442 U.S. 1, 7 (1979) ("There is no constitutional or inherent right of a convicted person to be conditionally released before the expiration of a valid sentence."). And plaintiff does not have an established liberty interest in conditional release. Dace v. Mickelson , 816 F.2d 1277, 1280-81 ...


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