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Ross-Patterson v. Smith

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

April 7, 2017

WILLIE B. ROSS-PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
PRECIOUS M. SMITH Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN M. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se plaintiff Willie B. Ross-Patterson for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court has considered the financial information submitted in support, and will grant the motion. After review, the Court will also dismiss the complaint without prejudice.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 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, 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.

         When conducting initial review pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, this does not mean that pro se complaints may be merely conclusory. 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"). 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Smith was a case manager employed by the Missouri Department of Social Services, and that defendant Willis was a volunteer court-appointed special advocate and/or a guardian ad litem. All parties are Missouri citizens.

         Plaintiff alleges that Smith took actions and made statements that were upsetting and insulting, and that resulted in plaintiffs great grandchild being placed in a foster home. Plaintiff offers no details regarding the proceedings that resulted in the child's custody placement. He does not allege that he ever had physical or legal custody of the child. Instead, he sets forth allegations such as:

Precious Smith CD case manager used her authority unethically to hurt me from her revenge she used my great grandson as her weapon towards hurting me from knowing how much I love my family
Smith have misused her Authority to build an illegal case to remove child from his great grandmother home of love
Smith had [a counselor] give a letter belittling towards me someone Smith knew I fired her after 30 days of hire for her unprofessional and unfairness to the child for not keeping her schedule appointments using bizarre reasons and shouting at him
Smith also went to child old school and was only able to get words I stated in a letter to the social worker Mr. Fredrick Minner, who assisted her in trying to place child in a Residential Home at 504 meeting May 28, 2016.

(Docket No. 1 at 3).

         Plaintiff alleges that Willis visited his home on September 29, 2016 and "sat at the same table he has shared dinner with Child and me and underhanded something to child that caused him to walk away and say he can see himself ...


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