United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
HERBERT W. MORRISON, JR., Plaintiff,
ANDREW HALE, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Herbert W. Morrison, Jr., an inmate at Southeast Correctional
Center, 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 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.
has submitted an affidavit and a certified inmate account
statement showing an average monthly deposit of $179.15, and
an average monthly balance of $55.73 The Court will therefore
assess an initial partial filing fee of $35.83, twenty
percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.
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.
Court is required to liberally construe a pro se
complaint. 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”).
Giving 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).
describes the complaint as a “42 U.S.C. § 1983
complaint for damages for civil rights violations, 18 U.S.C.
§ 1030 complaint for damages for unauthorized access to
a protected computer, and complaint in Replevin.”
(Docket No. 1 at 1). He names twelve defendants: law
enforcement officers Andrew Hale, Timothy Sweeso, Shawn
Reiland, Timothy Green; Steven Grim, and John Does 1-2; the
City of Florissant; Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ashley
Bailey-Smith; and private citizens Tina Broadway, Robyn Ambs,
and Kathleen Pickett. The complaint spans 53 pages, and
contains multiple counts. Plaintiff's claims appear to
relate to events that happened when he was investigated,
arrested and prosecuted for possession and promotion of child
pornography, child molestation, statutory sodomy, statutory
rape, and sexual exploitation of a minor. He seeks monetary
complaint violates Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, which requires (in relevant part) that a complaint
to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” This
complaint is far too long, and it brims with irrelevant and
redundant statements, legalese, and conclusory statements.
For example, plaintiff begins Count 1 by writing:
Defendant Sweeso, by trickery, deceit, fraud, unethical
practice for a public official, contrary to his oath of
office and in violation of Plaintiff's right to be free
from unreasonable search and seizure, was the direct and
proximate cause of Plaintiff's residential property the
subject of a warrantless exploratory search which was general
in nature . . . On its face the search appears valid and
judicially impenetrable, however, based on information known
by Defendant Sweeso at the time of the violation, the consent
obtained was not in accordance with the Constitution.
No. 1 at 19). In Count 6, plaintiff writes:
As a police officer, Defendant Grimm was sympathetic to the
anger emanating from Defendant Hale by the allegation made by
Defendant Hale's friend and fellow police officer's
step-daughter, and believing he possessed the intellectual
acuity to successfully conduct and conceal a unconstitutional
[sic] search, ...