United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Taylor Bennett, a federal prisoner, for leave to commence
this action without prepayment of the required filing fee.
(Docket No. 2). For the reasons stated below, the Court finds
that plaintiff lacks sufficient funds to pay the entire
filing fee, and will assess an initial partial filing fee of
$1.00. In addition, plaintiff will be given the opportunity
to submit an amended complaint.
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
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 her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court
must assess, and when funds exist collect, an initial partial
filing fee of 20 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 her 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.
support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an inmate
account statement that shows an average monthly balance of
$5.17. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial
filing fee of $1.00, twenty percent of her average monthly
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 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,
inter alia, draw upon judicial experience and common
sense. Id. at 679.
pleaded guilty to federal charges that included mail fraud,
aggravated identity theft, and possession of stolen mail. She
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
eight individuals and one municipality, asserting that they
violated her rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. Plaintiff's claims stem from events that
occurred before, during, and after her arrest.
does not specify the capacity in which she sues the
individual defendants. When a complaint is silent as to the
capacity in which a person is being sued, a 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 an defendant in his or
her official capacity is the equivalent of naming the entity
that employs the defendant. Will v. Michigan
Dep=t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
When the employer is a government entity, the plaintiff must
allege that some official policy or custom is responsible for
the alleged constitutional violation. Monell v.
Dep=t of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91
(1978). No such allegations appear in the complaint. However,
the Court believes that these deficiencies can be cured by
amending the complaint. Because plaintiff is proceeding pro
se, she will be given an opportunity to file an amended
complaint on a court-provided form in accordance with the
specific instructions set forth below.
must include all of her claims in one, centralized complaint
form. The Court will not search through supplemental and
prior pleadings in order to piece together plaintiff's
claims, nor will it require the defendants to do so. As such,
plaintiff is warned that the filing of an amended complaint
replaces the original complaint and all previously-filed
pleadings and supplements. See, e.g., In re Wireless Tel.
Fed. Cost Recovery Fees Litig., 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir.
2005). Any claims from the original complaint,
supplements, and/or pleadings that are not included in the
amended complaint will be deemed abandoned and will not be
considered. Id. Plaintiff is advised that the
amended complaint will replace the original complaint and
will be the only pleading this court reviews. Id. As
to each individual defendant named in the amended complaint,
plaintiff must state whether she is suing that defendant in
his or her official capacity, individual capacity, or both.
"Caption" section of the amended complaint,
plaintiff must state the name of each defendant she wishes to
sue. In the "Statement of Claim" section, plaintiff
should begin by writing the first defendant's name. In
separate, numbered paragraphs under the name, plaintiff
should (1) set forth in the allegations supporting his
claim(s) against that defendant, as well as the
constitutional right(s) that she claims that defendant
violated and (2) state the capacity in which the defendant is
being sued. Plaintiff should then proceed in the same manner
with each of the remaining defendants.
amended complaint must contain short and plain statements
showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief. The allegations
must be simple, concise, and direct, and the numbered
paragraphs must each be limited to a single set of
circumstances. If plaintiff needs more space, she may attach
additional sheets of paper to the amended complaint.
No exhibits are to be attached to the amended
complaint. Plaintiff must sign the amended complaint
before returning it to the Court for filing.
is reminded that she is required to submit her amended
complaint on a court-provided form, and the amended complaint
must comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. After receiving the amended complaint, the Court
will review it pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
Plaintiff's failure to make specific and actionable
allegations against a defendant will result in the dismissal
of this case against that defendant. If plaintiff fails to
file an amended ...