United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of Plaintiff Lydell
Moore for leave to commence this civil action without
prepayment of the required filing fee. Having reviewed the
motion and the financial information submitted in support,
the Court has determined that plaintiff lacks sufficient
funds to pay the entire filing fee, and will assess an
initial partial filing fee of $39.41. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will dismiss all but Plaintiff's
individual capacity claims against Defendants Donald Stepp
and Jordan Exum, and will direct the Clerk of Court to issue
process upon Stepp and Exum in their individual capacities.
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
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 $10.00, until the
filing fee is fully paid. Id.
support of the instant motion, Plaintiff submitted an
affidavit and a certified inmate account statement showing an
average monthly deposit of $197.07. The Court will therefore
assess an initial partial filing fee of $39.41, which is
twenty percent of Plaintiff's average monthly deposit.
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. To state a claim for relief under
§ 1983, 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,
inter alia, draw upon judicial experience and common
sense. Id. at 679.
reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However,
this does not mean that pro se complaints may be
merely conclusory. 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”). In addition,
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).
of the complaint alleges false arrest against Defendant
Donald Stepp, a detective with the St. Charles City Police
Department, and Defendant Jordan Exum, a detective with the
St. Charles County Police Department. Count II alleges one
count of malicious prosecution against Defendant Tanya Muhm,
an assistant prosecutor with the St. Charles County
Prosecuting Attorney's Office. All three Defendants are
sued in their official and individual capacities.
complaint contains a long narrative entitled “Facts
Common to Both Counts, ” which is summarized as
follows. On August 2, 2014, a “close
acquaintance” of Plaintiff's named Daveon Morrison
shot and killed Plaintiff's cousin, Martell Crump. ECF
No. 1. The murder occurred at a park in St. Charles,
Missouri. At the time of the murder, Plaintiff was on parole
for crimes unrelated to any described in the complaint.
Following the murder, unnamed St. Charles police officers
visited Plaintiff's apartment. They questioned Plaintiff,
and performed a consensual search of his apartment. After
those officers left, unnamed St. Charles City police
detectives appeared, performed a search of Plaintiff's
apartment without his consent or a warrant, and arrested
Plaintiff without probable cause.
Plaintiff was in custody, Stepp questioned him about
Morrison's whereabouts and about the murder. Stepp then
told Plaintiff that someone else had questions for him, and
“[t]his person turned out to be an unidentified
detective from the St. Charles County SCCRDTF, who at all
times wore a black mask.” Id. at 10. Plaintiff
alleges that Stepp and the “Masked Man” were
trying to implicate him in Crump's murder, and convince
him to become an informant for Stepp. Id. Stepp said
that if Plaintiff did not cooperate, he would be implicated
in “2 or 3 drug transactions, or even worse, Defendant
Stepp would find a way to implicate Plaintiff in the Crump
murder.” Id. at 10-11.
was held for 24 hours in St. Charles City but, after the 24
hours elapsed and Plaintiff was due to be released,
“Stepp presented a fabrication and had him transferred
to St. Charles County Department of Corrections for another
24 hour hold.” ECF No. 1 at 11. Plaintiff was then
released. On August 5, 2014, Plaintiff “was arrested
again, and charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW) even
though no weapon was ever found during any of the
searches.” Id. at 11. Plaintiff does not name
the officer who arrested him.
following day, Stepp and another detective named Hancock
questioned Plaintiff. Stepp and Hancock presented Plaintiff
“with a written statement that they had obviously
coerced the individual into writing against me.”
Id. Plaintiff was then transferred to Warren County
Jail, and his parole was revoked “because of the bogus
arrest, constant harassment, and false trumped-up charges,
” and he was sent to the Missouri Department of
Corrections to serve the ...