United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Rodney Jerome Dukes for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis in this civil action, filed pursuant to the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et
seq. The Court has reviewed the financial information
submitted in support, and has determined to grant the motion.
In addition, for the reasons discussed below, this case will
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. A pleading that offers “labels
and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do, ” nor
will a complaint suffice if it tenders “naked
assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual
enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
conducting initial review pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must accept as true the allegations in the complaint,
and must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal
construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). However, the tenet that a court must accept the
allegations as true does not apply to legal conclusions,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, and 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). 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”).
complaint fails to state a plausible claim for relief. For
his statement of claim, plaintiff merely writes:
To state my 401k retirement that wasn't giving to me.
[sic] Form [sic] 1998 - 2002. Frakington
Temp. share holder.
(Docket No. 1 at 3).
prayer for relief, plaintiff writes: “Get my 401k that
wasn't giving to me. 1998 - 2002.” (Id. at
4). Plaintiff indicates that he seeks monetary damages, but
that the amount is unknown.
Court has liberally construed the complaint, and is mindful
that, in ERISA cases, many relevant documents are held in the
control of the plan administrator, and not easily available
to a plaintiff. The Court is also mindful that the pleading
standard required by Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure does not require detailed factual allegations.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. However, in this case, the
complaint tenders only the barest assertion of wrongdoing
that is devoid of factual enhancement. In addition, there are
no allegations that the defendant committed any wrongdoing,
only that Frankington Temp. was a shareholder. Concluding
that the named defendant is responsible for any misconduct
would require the Court to engage in speculation and to
assume facts that are not alleged, which this Court will not
do. See Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15 (federal courts
are not required to “assume facts that are not alleged,
just because an additional factual allegation would have
formed a stronger complaint”).
the complaint includes no factual allegations that, when
assumed true, raise the right to relief above the speculative
level, the Court determines that it fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. It will therefore be
dismissed, without prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(Docket No. 6) is GRANTED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is
DISMISSED without prejudice. A separate