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Moore v. Russell

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

August 5, 2016

ANTON MOORE, Plaintiff,
TERRY RUSSELL, et al., Defendants.


          Jean C. Hamilton UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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 $2.00, which is twenty percent of his average monthly balance. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Additionally, this action is dismissed.

         Standard of Review

         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, 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.

         A complaint may be dismissed as malicious where it “was not [meant] to rectify any cognizable harm, but only to harass and disparage” the defendants. Tapia-Ortiz v. Winter, 185 F.3d 8, 11 (2d Cir.1999) (dismissing complaint against judges and federal prosecutor who obtained conviction against the plaintiff as frivolous and malicious). When determining that an action or allegation is malicious, the Court refers to objective factors such as the circumstances and history surrounding the filing, the tone of the allegations, and whether probative facts vital to the life of the lawsuit have been alleged.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in July 2014. Defendants are officials there. For the purposes of this Order, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true.

         On July 7, 2014, plaintiff was housed in administrative segregation. Defendant Jarrett Davis served the inmates in administrative segregation their evening meal. Normally, the inmates are allowed fifteen minutes to eat their meals, but on that night, Davis began to collect the meals shortly after serving them. Plaintiff complained to Davis, and Davis threatened to place him on an alternative meal, which is meal loaf.

         Plaintiff loudly demanded to see a supervisor. When Davis did not respond, plaintiff pressed his emergency call button several times. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff covered the window of his cell and again demanded to see a supervisor. Davis replied, “Don’t hold your breath.”

         Plaintiff told Davis, “I’m taking my cellie hostage, now go get a [supervisor]!” Davis called defendant Michael Hubbart, who was another correctional officer, over to plaintiff’s cell. Upon hearing that, plaintiff placed his mattress in front of the food port. Davis and Hubbart then began spraying pepper spray into the cell. After being sprayed, plaintiff then physically struggled with defendants, rather than complying with their orders.

         Defendant Carrie Sederstrom, a sergeant, arrived. Plaintiff was handcuffed, and his cellmate was removed from the cell. Soon afterwards, defendant Victoria Dill, a nurse, arrived and assessed plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiff was returned to his cell, where he rinsed some of the pepper spray off in the sink.

         A few minutes later, defendant Timothy Pickett, a lieutenant, told plaintiff that a nurse would be coming by to draw plaintiff’s blood. Plaintiff complained and demanded to see the Warden.

         Plaintiff then barricaded himself in his cell. He says a “standoff” then ensued for “several hours.” When plaintiff attempted to see what was happening outside of his cell, a team of correctional officers in riot gear breached the cell door. He says an unidentified officer took “cheap shots” at him and that another unidentified officer slammed his ankle on the floor several times. When his arms and legs were secured, a nurse drew his blood. The officers then removed the restraints and left the cell. Another nurse examined plaintiff after the confrontation.

         At approximately midnight, Davis gave plaintiff a conduct violation for causing serious injury to another. Davis said that ...

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