United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern District
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon review of the file. Plaintiff
Ronnie Allen, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed
this prisoner civil rights action on February 8, 2016, naming
22 defendants. Upon review, the Court determined that it was
unclear precisely what plaintiffs claims were as to each
defendant, and ordered plaintiff to submit an amended
complaint. Plaintiff has complied, and the Court will now
review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court shall 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 from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it
"lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989);
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A
complaint fails to state a claim 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). Although the factual
allegations in the complaint need not be detailed, they must
be sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the
speculative level ...". Id. at 555.
determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step
inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in
the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of
truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51
(2009). These include "legal conclusions" and
"[f]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action [that are] supported by mere conclusory
statements." Id. at 1949. Second, the Court
must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim
for relief. Id. at 1950-51. This is a
"context-specific task that requires the reviewing court
to draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is required to plead
facts that show more than the "mere possibility of
misconduct." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. The
Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint
"to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement
to relief." Id. at 1951. Pro se pleadings are
liberally construed, and are held to a less stringent
standard when considering a dismissal of the case for failure
to state a claim. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520 (1972); Horsey v. Asher, 741 F.2d 209, 211
n. 3 (8th Cir. 1984). Even so, a pro se complaint must
contain specific facts to support its conclusions. Kaylor
v. Fields, 661 F.2d 1177, 1183 (8th Cir. 1981).
an inmate at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and
Correctional Center ("ERDCC") alleges that his
constitutional rights guaranteed by the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments and the Equal Protection Clause were violated
during five incidents that occurred on March 20, March 23,
April 6, April 7, and April 17, 2015. He names 25 defendants:
John Mills, Claude Bagby, Tamara Hendrix, Dennis Mayberry,
Michael Vinson, Unknown Schefer, Jerry Walls, Jeremiah Brown,
Brad Clark, Daron Hyte, Jefferson Kidd, Jane Bucanan, Cynthia
Reese, Charles Wilson, Bryan Robinson, Gregory Hancock,
Crystal Steward, Regina Beggs, Bruce Hannabrink, Terry White,
Omer Clark, Paula Reed, Ian Wallace, Dwayne Kempker, and Bill
Stange. All of the defendants are employed by the Missouri
Department of Corrections, an agency of the State of
Missouri. Plaintiff states that he sues each defendant in
his/her official and individual capacity, and seeks monetary
damages in the amount of $75, 000.00.
Court will dismiss plaintiffs official capacity claims
against all of the defendants. All defendants are employees
of the Missouri Department of Corrections, an agency of the
State of Missouri, and plaintiff seeks only monetary damages.
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity
is the equivalent of naming the government entity that
employs the official. "Neither a State nor its officials
acting in their official capacity are 'persons' under
§ 1983." Will v. Michigan Dept. of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). The amended complaint
therefore fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted against these State of Missouri employees in their
states that defendants violated his right to equal
protection, but he alleges no facts to support such a claim.
Equal protection claims arise when a charge is made that
similarly situated individuals are treated differently
without a rational relationship to a legitimate state
purpose. See San Antonio School District v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1972). Because plaintiff never
alleges that he belongs to a suspect class or was treated
differently from any other inmate similarly situated, he
fails to state an equal protection claim. See Village of
Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564 (2000) (per
curiam) (to proceed with equal protection claim, plaintiff
who is not member of suspect class must allege that he
"has been intentionally treated differently from others
similarly situated and that there is no rational basis for
the difference in treatment").
20, 2015 - Defendants Mills, Bagby, Hendrix, Mayberry, Vinson
alleges that, on March 20, 2015, he told defendants Mills and
Bagby that his cellmate, Timothy Rucker, had threatened to
harm him, and he asked to be moved to a different cell.
Plaintiff alleges that Mills and Bagby refused to do so, and
that Bagby used a racial slur and stated that Rucker and
plaintiff could "kill each other for all we care."
(Docket No. 12 at 9). Plaintiff alleges that Mills and Bagby
slammed his hands repeatedly with the food port door and
pepper-sprayed him after he refused to move his hands out of
the food port opening. Plaintiff alleges that Mills and Bagby
later delayed giving him a decontamination shower to wash the
pepper spray from his eyes and skin, threw away some of ...