United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this
civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed
plaintiff's financial information, the Court assesses a
partial initial filing fee of $65, which is twenty percent of
his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b). Additionally, plaintiff must file an amended
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 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 draw on its judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the
Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the
Court liberally construes the allegations.
brings this action against Larry Crawford, Director of the
St. Charles County Department of Corrections, an Unknown
Guard (Guard), and Unknown Caseworker (Caseworker), and an
Unknown Prisoner (Prisoner). The complaint alleges that
Prisoner was known to be dangerous, and prison authorities
had ordered that his cell door remain closed. Plaintiff
alleges that sometime in mid-July 2016, Guard, disregarding
orders, opened Prisoner's door and let him out of his
cell while plaintiff was playing cards with some other
inmates in the common area. Prisoner then grabbed a broom and
hit plaintiff in the head with the handle, knocking him
unconscious and lacerating his scalp. Plaintiff was taken to
the hospital, where stitches and staples were used to close
only allegation against Crawford is that he knowingly allowed
plaintiff to be assaulted by Prisoner. The complaint provides
no factual support for this conclusory allegation.
also alleges that Caseworker knowingly allowed him to be
assaulted without providing any factual support for the
claim. Plaintiff further complains that Caseworker did not
respond to his grievance.
under § 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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009) (“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.”); Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d
174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“a general responsibility for
supervising the operations of a prison is insufficient to
establish the personal involvement required to support
liability.”); George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605,
609 (7th Cir. 2007) (“Only persons who cause or
participate in the [constitutional] violations are
responsible. Ruling against a prisoner on an administrative
complaint does not cause or contribute to the
violation.”). There are no factual allegations showing
that defendants Crawford or Caseworker were present during
the incident or had any control over Guard's decision to
open Prisoner's door. As a result, plaintiff's
allegations against them are frivolous.
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must establish
that a person acting under color of state law committed the
acts which form the basis of the complaint. Parratt v.
Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled on other
grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328 (1986).
Defendant Prisoner is not a state actor, and so,
plaintiff's claim against him is frivolous.
state a claim for unconstitutional prison conditions, a
pretrial detainee must show that (1) the conditions of
confinement posed a substantial risk of serious harm and (2)
that the prison officials knew of but disregarded, or were
deliberately indifferent to, plaintiff's health and
safety. Crow v. Montgomery, 403 F.3d 598, 602 (8th
Cir. 2005); see Hott v. Hennepin County, Minnesota,
260 F.3d 901, 905 (8th Cir. 2001) (applying deliberate
indifference standard to pretrial detainee's
conditions-of-confinement claim). Plaintiff's allegations
against Guard are not specific enough to show that he was
deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's safety. For
example, he has not alleged that Prisoner ever threatened him
or was violent towards him in the past and that Guard knew of
those threats or acts of violence. As a result, it does not
appear that plaintiff's claim against Guard states a
plausible claim for relief under § 1983. However,
because plaintiff is pro se, the Court will allow him to file
an amended complaint expanding on his allegations.
fictitious parties generally may not be named as defendants
in a civil action. Phelps v. United States, 15 F.3d
735, 739 (8th Cir. 1994). An action may proceed against a
party whose name is unknown, however, if the complaint makes
sufficiently specific allegations to permit the identity of
the party to be ascertained after reasonable discovery.
Munz v. Parr, 758 F.2d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 1985).
In this case, the Court cannot order discovery because there
are no named defendants who the Court can serve with ...