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Achter v. Unknown Sheriff

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri

August 14, 2017

LESLIE ALLEN ACHTER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN SHERIFF, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Leslie Allen Achter, a prisoner in St. Francis County Jail, for leave to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. [Doc. #2] The Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.00.[1] In addition, the Court will allow plaintiff the opportunity to submit an amended complaint.

         Legal Standard

         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. 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 bare assertions 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)).

         When 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”).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to redress violations of his civil rights, and names “Unknown Sheriff” and “Circuit Court Judge” and “Mr. Sandy Martinez” as defendants in the caption of his complaint.

         The complaint is handwritten and difficult to decipher. However, it appears that plaintiff is alleging that Circuit Judge Sandy Martinez purportedly violated his civil rights by allowing Sheriff D.R. Bullock to arrest him for a probation violation.

         As currently written, the complaint is legally frivolous against Circuit Judge Sandy Martinez because judges are “entitled to absolute immunity for all judicial actions that are not ‘taken in a complete absence of all jurisdiction.'” Penn v. United States, 335 F.3d 786, 789 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991)). Additionally, plaintiff has not indicated that there was anything deficient in his arrest by Sheriff Bullock.[2] Further, the complaint is defective because it was not drafted on the Court's form. See E.D. Mo. Local Rule 2.06(A).

         Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff is warned that the filing of an amended complaint replaces the original complaint, and so it must include all claims plaintiff wishes to bring. E.g., In re Wireless Telephone Federal Cost Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir. 2005). Plaintiff must submit the amended complaint on a court-provided form, and the amended complaint must comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         In the “Caption” section of the amended complaint, plaintiff must state the first and last name, to the extent he knows it, of each defendant he wishes to sue. Plaintiff should also indicate whether he intends to sue each defendant in his or her individual capacity, official capacity, or both.[3]

         In the “Statement of Claim” section, plaintiff should begin by writing the first defendant's name. In separate, numbered paragraphs under that name, plaintiff should set forth the specific factual allegations supporting his claim or claims against that defendant, as well as the constitutional right or rights that defendant violated. Plaintiff should only include claims that arise out of the same transaction or occurrence, or simply put, claims that are related to each other. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2). Alternatively, plaintiff may choose a single defendant and set forth as many claims as he has against that defendant. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a).

         If plaintiff is suing more than one defendant, he should proceed in the same manner with each one, separately writing each individual defendant's name and, under that name, in numbered paragraphs, the allegations specific to that particular defendant and the right(s) that defendant violated. Plaintiff's failure to make specific and actionable allegations against any defendant will result in that defendant's dismissal from this case.

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma ...


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