United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Ross United States District Judge
a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this
civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The motion is
granted. Additionally, the Court will order
plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
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, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim
for relief, which is more than a "mere possibility of
misconduct." Id. at 679. "A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id: at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief [is] a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
brings this action against the Phelps County Sheriffs
Department, the Phelps County Jail, John Scott, and Richard
Lisenbee. He alleges that on June 26, 2016, he "got into
an altercation" with a female. He says he opened the
back door of her car while the engine running, and he claims
she put the car in reverse and he was struck by the car door.
He fell down and sustained an injury to his right hip and
alleges that defendant Scott arrived at the scene and took
him into custody. He asked Scott for medical treatment, but
he claims that Scott denied the request. He asserts that
Scott "grabbed" his injured leg and "shoved it
in the car." After he arrived at the Phelps County Jail,
he asked for medical care. His requests were denied. Three
weeks later, he was seen by a nurse who told him he had
strained muscles and bruising. He says she did not order an
X-ray examination. She gave him Tylenol for the pain.
claims against the Sherriffs Department and the County Jail
are legally frivolous because they cannot be sued under
§ 1983. See Ketchum v. City of West Memphis,
Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992) (departments or
subdivisions of local government are "not juridical
entities suable as such.").
did not specify whether he is suing Scott in his 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 plaintiffs constitutional rights.
As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim against
under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights."
Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir.
1990); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009) ("Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to
Bivens and § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead
that each Government-official defendant, through the
official's own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution."). There are no allegations in the
complaint claiming that defendant Lisenbee was responsible
for plaintiffs injuries. Therefore, plaintiffs claim against
Lisenbee is frivolous.
plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to
file an amended complaint. 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). Any claims from the original
complaint that are not included in the amended complaint will
be considered abandoned. Id. Plaintiff must allege
how each and every defendant is directly responsible for the
alleged harm. He must plead facts, not conclusions, in
support of his claims. In order to sue defendants in their
individual capacities, plaintiff must specifically say so in
the complaint. If plaintiff fails to sue defendants in their
individual capacities, this action may be subject to
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to proceed in
forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] is GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to send plaintiff