United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon review of the file. This
action will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
proceeding herein pro se and in forma
pauperis, brought this action in this Court on January
27, 2017, naming Unknown Lunatto and “Department of
Justice” as defendants. In the original complaint,
plaintiff alleged in conclusory fashion that a
“cop” wrongfully used mace against her, and other
“cops” verbally mistreated her and tased her.
(Docket No. 1 at 3). Upon initial review, the Court noted
several defects in the complaint, including that plaintiff
had failed to identify any defendant by name or allege any
defendant's personal responsibility for the alleged
wrongdoing. The Court also noted that the complaint wholly
failed to set forth specific facts demonstrating any
plausible claim for relief. In consideration of
plaintiff's pro se status, the Court permitted
plaintiff the opportunity to submit an amended complaint.
February 27, 2017, plaintiff submitted an amended complaint,
naming only “Department of Justice” as defendant.
(Docket No. 3 at 1). Plaintiff identifies defendant's
address as 200 North Tucker Boulevard in Saint Louis, which
is the address of the Saint Louis City Justice Center.
(Id. at 2). Plaintiff alleges that she was subjected
to harassment, discrimination and misconduct when she was
arrested by “the Department of Justice” several
times during the year 2016. (Id. at 3). Plaintiff
A couple of example they had volated against me were not
asking any question that might had lead me into a bad
situation. [sic] Pepper spray in eye when having a
medical condition. Taking me to jail when I had all nessary
item to show eviden that I resident at place of resident.
states that she seeks monetary damages, but does not specify
a particular amount.
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.
reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must accept as true the allegations contained in the
complaint, and give it the benefit of a liberal construction.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However,
even pro se complaints are required to allege facts
which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law.
Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir.
1980); see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15
(8th Cir. 2004) (federal courts are not required to
“assume facts that are not alleged, just because an
additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger
complaint”). The tenet that a court must accept a
complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In addition,
affording a pro se complaint the benefit of a
liberal construction does not mean that procedural rules in
ordinary civil litigation must be interpreted so as to excuse
mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. See McNeil
v. U.S., 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
amended complaint will be dismissed. While plaintiff names
“Department of Justice” as defendant, she
apparently intends to sue the Saint Louis City Justice
Center. Relevant precedent establishes that a department or
subdivision of local government is not a “juridical,
” or suable, entity under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, AR., 974 F.2d 81,
82 (8th Cir. 1992). Therefore, plaintiff's claims against
the Saint Louis City Justice Center fail as a matter of law.
See Ballard v. Missouri, No. 4:13CV528 JAR, 2013 WL
1720966, at *3 (E.D. Mo. April 22, 2013) (holding that
“[p]laintiff's claims against the City of St. Louis
Department of Public Safety, the St. Louis County Justice
Center, the City of St. Louis Justice Center, and
MSI/Workhouse are legally frivolous because these defendants
are not suable entities”); see also Wallace v. St.
Louis City Justice Ctr., No. 4:12CV2291 JAR, 2013 WL
3773971, at *2 (E.D. Mo. July 17, 2013) (dismissing claims
against the St. Louis City Justice Center because it is not a
suable entity). In addition, even if plaintiff had named the
City of Saint Louis as defendant, the allegations in the
complaint would fail to state a claim of municipal liability.
“[I]t is well established ‘that a municipality
cannot be held liable on a respondeat superior theory, that
is, solely because it employs a tortfeasor.'”
Johnson v. Douglas County Medical Dept., 725 F.3d
825, 828 (8th Cir. 2013) (quoting Atkinson v. City of
Mountain View, Mo., 709 F.3d 1201, 1214 (8th Cir.
2013)). Liability under § 1983 may attach to a
municipality if the constitutional violation resulted from:
(1) an official municipal policy, (2) an unofficial custom;
or (3) a deliberately indifferent failure to train or
supervise. Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of
New York,436 U.S. 658, 690-91 ...