United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before me on review of plaintiff's amended
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Upon review, I find
that the case must be dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.
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.
is a civil detainee in Missouri's Sex Offender
Rehabilitation and Treatment Services Program. He brings this
action against Dr. Sekhar Vangala, his psychiatrist, and
Diana Keevin, a nurse, in their official capacities.
says Vangala falsely accused him of threatening to sexually
assault staff and other patients. As a result, the team
leader restricted his movements to a single ward. Plaintiff
asked Vangala to see the videotapes showing him making the
threats, but Vangala refused the request.
claims that Keevin falsely recorded the alleged threats in
his medical file.
a government official in his or her official capacity is the
equivalent of naming the government entity that employs the
official, in this case the State of Missouri.
Willv.MichiganDep=tofStatePolice, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). “[N]either a State nor its officials acting in
their official capacity are ‘persons' under §
1983.” Id. As a result, the complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and it must
be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
plaintiff's allegations do not show that he was
impermissibly punished in violation of the Constitution. To
demonstrate unconstitutional punishment in the civil
confinement setting, a plaintiff must show that the given
imposition rises above “a de minimis level . .
. with which the Constitution is not concerned. Bell v.
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 539 n. 21 (1979). If shown, the
next question is “whether there is punishment in the
constitutional sense . . . because detention always
involves some loss of freedom and of life's ordinary
comforts.” Id. (emphasis in original). In this
case, plaintiff's restriction to a single ward does not
constitute punishment because it is a normal loss of freedom
in the civil commitment setting. Further, plaintiff has not
alleged any facts showing that the conditions in the ward
also says that his legal mail is being opened or delayed in
retaliation for filing lawsuits. However, plaintiff does not
allege that defendants were personally involved in this
matter, and so, these allegations do not state a plausible
claim for relief. E.g., Madewell v. Roberts, 909
F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990).
“[q]ualified immunity may protect government officials
from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but not if their
conduct violated clearly established statutory or
constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have
known.” Nelson v. Corr. Med. Servs., 583 F.3d
522, 527 (8th Cir. 2009) (en banc) (quotation omitted);
see Maness v. Dist. Court, 495 F.3d 943, 944 (8th
Cir. 2007) (analyzing qualified immunity on 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) review). The tests for whether an officer is
entitled to qualified immunity are: (1) whether the facts
alleged, taken in the light most favorable to the injured
party, show that the officer's conduct violated a
constitutional right; and (2) whether the constitutional
right was clearly established at the time of the deprivation
so that a reasonable officer would understand his conduct was
unlawful. Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231
(2009). Here, the restriction on plaintiffs movement did not
violate clearly established law that a reasonable person
should have known. Therefore, defendants are entitled to
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that his action is
DISMISSED without prejudice. All ...