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Carr v. Joyce

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

December 21, 2016

ADRIAN CARR, Plaintiff,
v.
JENNIFER JOYCE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Adrian Carr, an inmate at the Medium Security Institution in St. Louis, for leave to commence this action without prepayment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the motion and assess an initial partial filing fee of $31.45. In addition, the Court will dismiss this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of twenty percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         In support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted a “Resident Funds Inquiry” form showing an average monthly balance of $157.23 during the six months immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $31.45, which is twenty percent of his average monthly balance. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)

         Pursuant 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).

         Determining whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted requires 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 “[t]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).

         The Complaint[1]

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violation of his constitutional rights and his rights guaranteed by the Missouri Constitution. Named as defendant is Jennifer Joyce, the Circuit Attorney for the City of Saint Louis. Plaintiff alleges that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department illegally searched his home. Plaintiff also alleges that Joyce denied his rights to a fair and impartial trial and a speedy trial, and wrongfully failed to disclose certain discovery pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rules 25.03A(1) and 25.03A(9). Plaintiff also alleges that the Missouri State Public Defender System provided ineffective assistance of counsel. The remainder of plaintiff's complaint consists of rambling paragraphs concerning the general conditions of the institution in which he is incarcerated, including the pricing of commissary items, smells coming in through the windows due to the location of the institution, the lack of chicken, beets and fish to eat, poor medical care, the lack of a law library, and poor electrical service.

         As relief, plaintiff states: “I would like for the prosecutor (Circuit Attorney) Jennifer Joyce to be delt [sic] with accordingly.” (Docket No. 1 at 9). Plaintiff also seeks $7, 000, 000.00 in damages.

         Discussion

         Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was designed to provide a “broad remedy for violations of federally protected civil rights.” Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 685 (1978). However, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides no substantive rights; it merely provides a remedy for violations of all “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws [of the United States].” 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see also Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (42 U.S.C. § 1983 “merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.”) To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish: (1) the violation of a right secured by the ...


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