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Perkins v. City of St. Louis

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

March 7, 2017

TIMOTHY PERKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CAROL E. JACKSON 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 $16.00, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Additionally, the Court will require plaintiff to submit an amended complaint.

         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 is a prisoner confined in the St. Louis Medium Security Institution (MSI). In the complaint he describes a litany of conditions in the facility that are unsanitary and unsafe. Among other things, plaintiff alleges that he has been bitten by a brown recluse spider and exposed to black mold which made him sick. Plaintiff asserts that he has received insufficient treatment for his medical problems. Plaintiff also alleges that he burned his hand while working in the kitchen because of unsafe conditions. According to plaintiff, the kitchen is condemned, and inmates are served food out of trash cans.

         Plaintiff brings this action against the City of St. Louis; Corizon, Inc.; Jeffery Carson, Superintendent; Dale Glass, Commissioner; and C.B.M. Managed Services (C.B.M.) which allegedly manages the kitchen and food service at MSI.

         Discussion

         Plaintiff does not state whether he is suing the 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 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 a government entity was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiff's constitutional rights. As a result, the complaint is frivolous with respect to the plaintiff's municipal liability claims against the City of St. Louis and his official capacity claims against Jeffery Carson and Dale Glass.

         To state a claim for medical mistreatment, plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to indicate a deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 175 (8th Cir. 1995). Allegations of mere negligence in giving or failing to supply medical treatment will not suffice. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. In order to show deliberate indifference, plaintiff must allege that he suffered objectively serious medical needs and that defendants actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those needs. Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997). In order to state a claim against Corizon, plaintiff must allege that there was a policy, custom or official action that caused an actionable injury. Sanders v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 984 F.2d 972, 95-76 (8th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff has not alleged that Corizon's official policies or customs caused him to be denied medical care. Therefore, his allegations against Corizon fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         Finally, to hold C.B.M. liable, plaintiff must also allege that its official policy or custom led to his hand injury. Id. He has not made any such allegations.

         Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to file an amended complaint. The amended complaint must be submitted on a court- provided complaint form. All of the plaintiff's claims and all defendants being sued must be set forth in the complaint form. The Court will not search through supplemental and prior pleadings ...


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