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Robbins v. Tiffany

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

June 26, 2017

JOSEPH WAYNE ROBBINS, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE TIFFANY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se plaintiff Joseph Wayne Robbins for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action. Upon consideration of the financial information provided with the application, the Court finds that plaintiff is financially unable to pay any portion of the filing fee. The motion will therefore be granted. In addition, the Court will 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. § 1981 against defendants Joe Tiffany, Savannah Pogue, Gretchen Plaggenburg, Samantha Faulkner, Kevin Kinnard, Ginger Joyner, and Division of Family Services. Plaintiff does not specify the employer or position of any of the individual defendants. He alleges as follows. On March 3, 2017, Tiffany trespassed on plaintiff's property. Plaintiff's former wife's children were living with him at the time. Plaintiff allowed Tiffany to enter the house, and Tiffany said it was fine for the children. Plaintiff alleges that this violates his rights under the Fourteenth, Fourth and Ninth Amendments. Next, plaintiff alleges that on March 7, 2017, Plaggenburg and Faulkner, apparently accompanied by a law enforcement officer, came to his house and took the children, stating “probable cause from 2001.” (Docket No. 1 at 3). Plaintiff states that he is the non-offender, that he attended visits when one child discussed episodes of abuse, and that plaintiff saw bruises and marks. Plaintiff alleges that “they never asked [him] anything to do with the parents, ” that “they” lied to take the children and violate his rights, and that Joyner did not care that the children were being abused during visits. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks the following relief:

Want the children returned to all of us
Want their apology
$1 million should compensate for all the emotional & mental damage done
Them to pay the state back for fraudulent removal of children each one should pay
$1 million for emotional & mental damages done, violations of amendments, trespassing, wrongful removal, false accusations, defamation, physical abuse of children suffered in foster home

(Id. at ...


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