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Johnson v. Marin-Forman

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

June 28, 2017

MARTY MARIN-FORMAN, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Rayfield Johnson, a detainee at the Sexual Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services (“SORTS”) facility, for leave to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. (Docket No. 2). Having reviewed the financial information provided with the motion, the Court determines 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 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         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 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.

         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 against Marty Marin-Forman, John Lyskowski, Charlene Gilmore, Peggy Reed-Lohmeyer, and Jeffrey S. Kline. He sues each defendant in an individual and official capacity. Plaintiff states that the defendants violated his civil rights by conspiring to put him in the Missouri Sex Offender Treatment Program, make false statements against him, illegally discharge him from Fulton State Hospital with a “proper psychiatrist, ” and prevent him access to news media outlets to tell his story. (Docket No. 1 at 7). He seeks monetary relief, and also asks the Court to intervene in some manner in a state court case.

         The complaint will be dismissed as factually frivolous under Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). In addition, plaintiff's official capacity claims are subject to dismissal. See Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Plaintiff's individual capacity claims will be dismissed because he fails to allege how each defendant was directly involved in or personally responsible for any alleged constitutional violations. See Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990) (liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights); Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (claim not cognizable under § 1983 where plaintiff fails to allege defendant was personally involved in or directly responsible for incidents that injured him). Finally, the complaint does not state a claim for conspiracy under § 1983 because plaintiff has not plead factual detail indicating that any defendants conspired either together or with others to deprive him of any constitutional rights. See Burton v. St. Louis Bd. of Police Com'rs., 731 F.3d 784, 798 (8th Cir. 2013).

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket No. 2) is GRANTED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED without prejudice. A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel (Docket No. 3) is DENIED as moot.

         IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal ...

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