United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
THOMAS D. WILSON, Plaintiff,
JOHN PFAFF, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and RICO, 18 U.S.C. §§
1961-68. The motion is granted. Additionally, this action is
dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
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.
brings this action against several private actors and state
officials. He alleges that the defendants who ran the Ste.
Genevieve Lot Owners Association mishandled its funds,
illegally changed deeds of covenants, harassed property
owners, allowed tax officials to assess his property, did not
allow him to serve on the board, and drove by his house
repeatedly. He also claims they conspired with the defendant
state officials to entrap him and set up a "kangaroo
court" against him.
says the defendant state officials arrested him without
cause, altered court records regarding his DWI convictions,
withheld medications from prisoners, sold his property at a
tax auction, and harassed property owners.
all of plaintiff s allegations are legally frivolous because
they are conclusory and fail to allege facts, which if
proved, would entitle him to relief.
actors may incur section 1983 liability only if they are
willing participants in a joint action with public servants
acting under color of state law." Johnson v.
Outboard Marine Corp., 172 F.3d 531, 536 (8th Cir.1999).
"[A] plaintiff seeking to hold a private party liable
under § 1983 must allege, at the very least, that there
was a mutual understanding, or a meeting of the minds,
between the private party and the state actor."
Mershon v. Beasley, 994 F.2d 449, 451 (8th Cir.
1993). The facts alleged with respect to a conspiracy must be
specific and may not be merely conclusory. See White v.
Walsh, 649 F.2d 560, 561 (8th Cir. 1981). Here,
plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to give rise to
the inference that any private party defendants came to a
mutual understanding with any state actors to violate his
constitutional rights. Therefore, his § 1983 claims
against the private actors do not rise to the level of
plausibility required by Iqbal.
did not specify whether he is suing defendants in their
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 municipal 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.
So, his claims against the city and county employees are
frivolous. Moreover, his official-capacity claims against the
state officials are 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). As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim
under § 1983.
"makes it 'unlawful for any person employed by or
associated with any enterprise . . . to conduct or
participate ... in the conduct of such enterprise's
affairs' through the commission of two or more
statutorily defined crimes-which RICO calls 'a pattern of
racketeering activity.'" Cedric Kushner
Promotions, Ltd. v. King, 533 U.S. 158, 160 (2001)
(citing 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c)). "Racketeering
activity" is a violation of any of the enumerated
federal offenses listed in 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1).
Plaintiff has not alleged facts showing that defendants
violated any of the provisions listed in § 1961(1).
Consequently, his claims under RICO are legally frivolous.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion
to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for
appointment of ...