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Conner v. City of St. Louis

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

November 7, 2016

RONALD CONNER, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants,

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY 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 $14, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Additionally, this action is dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         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, 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.

         When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is an inmate at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution (“MSI”). He sues the City of St. Louis, the State of Missouri, Corizon, Inc., the City of St. Louis Division of Corrections, OSHA, and Mayor Francis G. Slay.

         Plaintiff alleges that MSI is overcrowded, the ventilation is inadequate, the building is condemned, there are vermin, there is black mold, the building does not comply with fire and safety regulations, and that the building is not adequately maintained. He says that OSHA has not properly monitored the safety of the institution. He claims that other inmates have been affected by the conditions. He does not allege, however, to have been personally injured.

         Discussion

         A pro se litigant may bring his own claims to federal court without counsel, but not the claims of others. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654. Consequently, this action is legally frivolous.

         Additionally, to state a claim against the City of St. Louis or Corizon, a 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). Plaintiff has not made any such allegations. As a result, these defendants must be dismissed.

         Plaintiff's claim against the City of St. Louis Division of Corrections is legally frivolous because it cannot be sued. 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.”).

         Plaintiff's claim against the State of Missouri is barred by sovereign immunity. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985); Murphy v. Arkansas, 127 F.3d 750, 754 (8th Cir. 1997).

         The only method for suing a federal agency, such as the United States Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA, is to file a claim under the Federal Torts Claim Act. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 2679(b)(1). ...


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