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Bradley v. Aviands Food Services

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

February 26, 2015

CORY BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
AVIANDS FOOD SERVICES, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JEAN C. HAMILTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the motion of Cory Bradley (registration no. 6738) 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 any portion of the entire filing fee, and therefore the motion will be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In addition, the Court will (1) dismiss this action as to defendants Aviands Food Services and City of St. Louis, Division of Corrections, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); and (2) dismiss all remaining claims, because they are not properly joined in this case under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

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 $0, and an average monthly balance of $0. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will not assess an initial partial filing fee at this time.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may 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 against a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action is malicious when it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing litigants 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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted 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, an inmate at the St. Louis City Justice Center ("SLCJC"), seeks monetary relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a multitude of alleged constitutional violations, ranging from cold food to inadequate medical care to a lack of stamps. Named as defendants in the caption of the complaint are Aviands Food Services ("Aviands") and the City of St. Louis, Division of Corrections ("City of St. Louis"). The gravamen of the complaint concerns plaintiff's allegations relative to the food service at SLCJC. In addition, however, he asserts a host of unrelated claims, including a lack of heat in his cell, the denial of grievance forms and a prison rule book, "medical negligence" following an inmate assault on January 29, 2015, inadequate access to the law library, denial of adequate notary services, the expectation that he wear an arm badge with his name on it, inadequate amounts of stamps, paper, soap, and other personal items, over-heated and pest-infested cells, and the denial of an "exchange of laundry, sheets, uniforms, towels, etc." The Court notes that plaintiff either has failed to name the parties allegedly responsible for these purported constitutional violations, or he names an individual other than the two defendants listed in the caption of the complaint. The Court will not liberally construe the complaint to include these parties as named defendants in the instant action, because, as set forth below, plaintiff has improperly joined all these claims in this one case. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (district court should question joinder of defendants and claims in prisoner cases).

Discussion

1. Permissive Joinder

Rule 18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, "A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party."

Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows for joinder of defendants if "any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and... any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action."

The allegations against defendants Aviands and the City of St. Louis concern the food service at SLCJC and do not arise out of the same series of transactions and occurrences as those mentioned in the remainder of the complaint. As a result, joinder ...


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