United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
July 16, 2015
JASON MONROE, Plaintiff,
HERBERT L. BERNSEN, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DAVID D. NOCE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiff's financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $36.00, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a complaint must plead more than "legal conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a "mere possibility of misconduct."
Plaintiff alleges that the conditions at the St. Louis County Justice Center are not conducive to his health. He says he is sleep deprived because the lights are on all night, that he has not received adequate dental care and has lost teeth, and that he has been retaliated against for filing grievances.
Plaintiff did not specify whether he is suing defendants 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. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a government official in his or her official capacity, plaintiff must allege that a policy or custom of the government entity is responsible for the alleged constitutional violation. Monell v. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The instant complaint does not contain any allegations that a policy or custom of a government entity was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiff's constitutional rights. As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff has thirty days from the date of this Order to do so. Plaintiff is warned that the filing of an amended complaint replaces the original complaint, and so he must include each and every one of his claims in the amended complaint. E.g., In re Wireless Telephone Federal Cost Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir. 2005). In order to sue defendants in their individual capacities, plaintiff must specifically say so in the complaint. Moreover, for a defendant to be liable under § 1983, plaintiff must allege a direct link between the defendant's action and the alleged constitutional violation. If plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint within thirty days, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $36.00 within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance payable to "Clerk, United States District Court, " and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison registration number; (3) the case number; and (4) that the remittance is for an original proceeding.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to send plaintiff a prisoner civil rights complaint form.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must file an amended complaint on the Court form within thirty days from the date of this Memorandum and Order. If plaintiff fails to comply with this Order, the Court will dismiss this action without further notice.