United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CHARLES C. LEWIS, Plaintiff,
KIMBERLY M. GARDNER, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNHED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Charles C. Lewis, an inmate at the St. Louis City Medium
Security Institution, for leave to commence this action
without prepayment of the filing fee. The motion will be
granted, and plaintiff will be given the opportunity to file
an amended complaint.
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 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
his 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 $33.02. The Court will therefore assess an
initial partial filing fee of $6.60, twenty percent of
plaintiff s average monthly balance.
Standard on Initial Review
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 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).
seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Kimberly M. Gardner (the St. Louis Circuit Attorney), police
officer Joseph Steiger, and Jeffrey Carson, whom plaintiff
avers is the Superintendent of the St. Louis Medium Security
Institution. Plaintiffs allegations stem from different
events that occurred over a period of several months.
Following is a brief summary. On February 7, 2016, "the
Missouri state" improperly amended an indictment to
label him as a prior and persistent offender; on April 26,
2016, Steiger and eight other officers subjected him to false
arrest and an illegal search; the prosecutor presented an
indictment bearing an illegible signature; his right to a
speedy trial was violated; on August 18, 2016 the police
department reported that he had resisted arrest, jumped from
a window, and led police on a chase; the Circuit
Attorney's Office had a practice of deleting information
from police reports; Carson failed to provide him safety,
medical care and decent living accommodations; corrections
officers ridiculed and verbally abused him; he was assaulted
by fellow inmates in November of 2016; and his public
defender lacked experience and skill. He seeks $10, 000, 000
complaint is defective for several reasons. Plaintiff failed
to specify the capacity in which he intends to sue the
defendants, he failed to allege the personal responsibility
of Gardner and Carson, his claims against all defendants are
stated in conclusory terms, and he includes a significant
amount of extraneous information that purports to allege
claims against parties not named as defendants. In addition,
plaintiff presents a case involving multiple unrelated claims
against not one but three defendants. This is impermissible.
Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs
joinder of defendants, and provides as follows:
Persons . . . may be joined in one action as defendants if:
(A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly,
severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising
out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question of law or
fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.
a plaintiff cannot join, in a single lawsuit, a multitude of
claims against different defendants that are related to
events arising out of different occurrences or transactions.
In other words, "Claim A against Defendant 1 should not
be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2."
George v. Smith,507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).
"Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in
different suits, ... [in part] to ensure that prisoners pay
the required filing fees - for the Prison Litigation Reform
Act limits to 3 the number of frivolous suits or appeals that
any prisoner ...