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Kozik v. Saint Francois County Jail

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

February 16, 2017

JUSTIN MICHAEL KOZIK, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY JAIL, 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 $10.22.[1] Additionally, plaintiff will be required to amend his complaint because as currently written, it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         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, an inmate at St, Francois County Jail, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights. Named as defendants are: the St. Francois County Jail, as well as two nurses at the jail, Tracy Francois and Heather Unknown.

         Plaintiff claims that during his incarceration in the St. Francois County Jail he has suffered from a cyst, or boil, on both his left buttock as well as on his chest area. Plaintiff complains that he has sought medical treatment for both areas of pain and that although he has been given some treatment by defendants, these boil areas still remain painful and oozing blood and pus. Plaintiff believes that the areas need to be surgically drained, but he claims that defendants have not offered any surgical services to him. Plaintiff believes that defendants have not done enough to provide the right medical care and services for him.

         Plaintiff has also alleged that the Jail lacks proper legal services.

         Plaintiff seeks medical relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

         Discussion

         To the extent that plaintiff is attempting to assert an access-to-the-courts claim pursuant to the First Amendment, the complaint is legally frivolous. Plaintiff does not claim that he has suffered "actual prejudice with respect to contemplated or existing litigation, ” which is a requirement of an access to courts claim. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 348 (1996); Myers v. Hundley, 101 F.3d 542, 544 (8th Cir. 1996).

         Additionally, plaintiff's complaint does not state whether the individual nurse defendants are being sued 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, in this case St. Francois County.

         To state a claim against a municipality or a government 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 St. Francois County was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiff's constitutional rights. As a result, ...


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