United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of Jason
Christopher Richter, an inmate at Ozark Correctional Center,
for leave to commence this action without prepayment of the
required filing fee. (Docket No. 3). For the reasons stated
below, the will grant the motion and assess an initial
partial filing fee of $1.08. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). In addition, the Court will direct plaintiff to
submit 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 $5.41. The Court will therefore assess an
initial partial filing fee of $1.08, 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).
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
St. Louis City Jail and the MSI Workhouse. He seeks monetary
relief as compensation for past harm. He alleges that, while
an inmate at MSI, he fell down a flight of stairs and broke
his foot. He repeatedly asked for medical treatment and was
denied, and ultimately reset the bone in his foot himself. He
was told he had to walk to the medical department, despite
his statements that walking was too painful. He laid on the
floor in peaceful protest and was threatened, but later
underwent an x-ray which was positive for fracture of the
fifth metatarsal. Attached to the complaint is a copy of the
x-ray report. (Docket No. 1, Attch. 1, at 2).
alleges that he could not get proper treatment from the St.
Louis City Workhouse, that there was total disregard for his
pain and suffering, and that he was placed in segregation to
prevent him from contacting his family about his situation.
He alleges that he “finally had to get a court order
from my Judge.” (Docket No. 1 at 3). Attached to the
complaint is a copy of a July 1, 2016 Order entered in the
Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit of Missouri, signed by the
Honorable Rex M. Burlison. (Docket No. 1, Attch. 1, at 1).
Therein, Judge Burlison ordered the sheriffs to take
plaintiff to undergo a medical evaluation for his injuries,
and ordered that plaintiff receive proper treatment for his
injuries before being remanded to the custody of the Missouri
Department of Corrections. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that
he was “sent to E.R.D.C.C. instead of St. Louis City
Corrections abiding by the court order.” (Docket No. 1
only named defendants are the St. Louis City Jail and MSI
Workhouse. However, a department or subdivision of local
government, like the St. Louis City Jail and MSI Workhouse,
cannot be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Ketchum v.
City of West Memphis, AR., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir.
1992) (departments or subdivisions of local government are
“not juridical entities suable as such”).
Therefore, plaintiff's claims are legally frivolous and
subject to dismissal. 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”). In addition, even
if plaintiff had named the City of St. Louis as a defendant,
the complaint as pled would not state a claim of municipal
liability because plaintiff does not allege that the
constitutional violations resulted from an official municipal
policy, an unofficial custom, or a deliberately indifferent
failure to train. Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of
City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978); City
of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989).
consideration of plaintiff's pro se status and
the serious nature of his allegations, the Court will allow
him to file an amended complaint. In the amended complaint,
plaintiff should specify the name of the person(s), to the
extent he knows it, who was personally responsible for
violating his constitutional rights. Plaintiff should
understand that liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the
alleged deprivation of rights.” Madewell v.
Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990); see
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676 (“Because vicarious
liability is inapplicable to Bivens and § 1983
suits, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official
defendant, through the official's own individual actions,
has violated the Constitution”). Simply put, this means
that plaintiff must allege ...