United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se
plaintiff Robin Anthony Thomas's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket No. 2). Having
reviewed the financial information plaintiff submitted in
support, the Court determines that he is unable to pay the
full amount of the filing fee. The motion will therefore be
granted. In addition, for the reasons explained below, the
complaint will be dismissed.
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 his or 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 20 percent of the preceding month's income
credited to the prisoner's 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
affidavit and an inmate account statement showing an average
monthly balance of $36.86. The Court will therefore assess an
initial partial filing fee of $7.37, twenty percent of
plaintiff s average monthly balance.
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), this 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 give it 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).
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
alleges as follows. He was incarcerated at the St. Louis
County Justice Center ("Justice Center") from
November 13, 2012 through September 10, 2014. On September 5,
2014, he was sentenced to a ten year term of imprisonment,
and he began preparing to be transferred to the Missouri
Department of Corrections (MODOC) facility in which he would
serve his term. Plaintiff met with defendant Christine
Hattler to designate a person who would be authorized to
receive his personal property that was being held in the
Justice Center property room. This personal property
consisted of a MasterCard bank card/debit card ("bank
card"). Hattler gave plaintiff a property release form
and plaintiff completed it, designating one Michael Roberts
as the person authorized to receive the bank card. Hattler
Dated this information into the computer system, and allowed
plaintiff to verify that it was correctly entered.
was transferred to MODOC on September 10, 2014. On that day,
defendant Jane Doe was in charge of releasing the personal
property of Justice Center inmates. She "unlawfully,
negligently and/or deliberately released my personal property
(bank card) to the unauthorized individual, Lionel
Hardy." (Docket No. 1 at 14). Plaintiff alleges that Doe
failed to follow the correct protocol and procedure when
releasing the bank card. On or about September 11, 2014,
Hardy fraudulently used the bank card to make purchases.
claims that he spent several months, beginning in November of
2016, "trying to gather information regarding this
matter." (Id. at 14). In June of 2016,
plaintiff contacted defendant Gene Fitzgerald, a case worker,
to inquire about the release of his bank card to Hardy.
Fitzgerald verified that the bank card should not have been
released to Hardy, but "deliberately ignored"
plaintiffs request for computer data and copies of all of the
documents related to the release of the bank card.
(Id. at 18). Plaintiff also called Judy Lang to
request the name of the officer who released the bank card to
Hardy, but Lang did not return his calls, and she spoke
rudely to a MODOC caseworker who called her on plaintiffs
claims he suffered the loss of money from his account, as
well as psychological stress. As relief, plaintiff seeks a
total of $3, 000, 000.00 in compensation for the funds
fraudulently taken from his ...