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Dickson v. Kloeppinger

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

September 22, 2017

MARTEZ ANTHONY DICKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
THOMAS KLOEPPINGER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Martez Anthony Dickson (registration no.1035314), an inmate at South Central Correctional Center ("SCCC"), for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $7.91. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of plaintiffs account indicates an average monthly deposit of $39.58. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $7.91, which is 20 percent of plaintiffs average monthly deposit.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action is malicious when it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing litigants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D. N.C. 1987), aff'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987).

         To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). These include "legal conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 1949. Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 1950-51. This is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is required to plead facts that show more than the "mere possibility of misconduct." Id. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint "to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief." Id. at 1951. When faced with alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its judgment in determining whether plaintiffs proffered conclusion is the most plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950, 1951-52.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights. Thomas Kloeppinger, the Court Clerk of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, is the only named defendant in this action. He is sued in his individual and official capacity.

         Plaintiff states that defendant Kloeppinger has interfered with his civil rights by placing barriers in his ability to file a writ of habeas corpus in St. Louis City Court. He claims that when he attempted to file his writ of habeas corpus, defendant Kloeppinger sent his habeas packet back to him and asked him to "complete additional paperwork" prior to filing his case. When plaintiff sent the additional paperwork back to defendant Kloeppinger on March 28, 2017, plaintiff was informed that he was unable to file his writ of habeas corpus in St. Louis City Court. Plaintiff believes this was a violation of his civil rights and he seeks to bring an action against defendant Kloeppinger for interfering with his access to Courts.

         Discussion

         The Court has reviewed plaintiffs filings on Missouri.Case.Net and found that he attempted to file his state application for writ of habeas corpus in his criminal case, State v. Dickson, No. 22981-03434-01 (22nd Judicial Court, St. Louis City). The Court Clerk docketed his application for writ of habeas corpus on April 12, 2017, as well as his "motion to grant immediate discharge" on May 4, 2017 and his "motion for production of documents" on May 19, 2017.

         On July 17, 2017, the Court notified petitioner that he had filed his petition for writ of habeas corpus in the wrong Court. Additionally, petitioner was told that he had failed to file his petition as an independent civil action.[1] ...


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