United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Andrew
Arman, an inmate at Southeast Correctional Center, for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action, filed
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket No.
The motion will be granted, and plaintiff will be given the
opportunity to submit an amended complaint.
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.
instant motion, plaintiff avers that he receives $5.00 per
month in income. He did not include a certified copy of his
inmate account statement for the six month period immediately
preceding the filing of the complaint. However, he did file a
letter explaining that he had tried to obtain the required
statement, but unnamed prison officials refused to give it to
him. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial
filing fee of $1.00, which is twenty percent of
plaintiff's stated monthly income and an amount this
Court determines is reasonable. See Henderson v.
Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997) (when a
prisoner is unable to provide the Court with a certified copy
of his prison account statement, the Court should assess an
amount “that is reasonable, based on whatever
information the court has about the prisoner's
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,
among other things, 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).
filed the instant complaint on September 1, 2017. Named as
defendants are Jason Davis, Ham Payne Fum, Cindy Griffith,
and Alan Earls. Plaintiff sues all defendants in their
official and individual capacities.
alleges that, on January 16, 2017, Davis and other officers
assaulted him, and Davis struck him in the face with a closed
fist. Plaintiff also alleges that Griffith told him his past
behavior was to blame. Plaintiff alleges he was denied
medical attention, and he includes a narrative describing
mental anguish, hardship, and retaliatory acts by unnamed
individuals. He sets forth no factual allegations regarding
Fum or Earls. He seeks monetary damages.
filing the instant complaint, plaintiff filed a motion to
amend. The motion to amend states that plaintiff wished to
amend his complaint to include an additional four defendants,
whom he names. Plaintiff states that the facts are included
in the “initial argument.” (Docket No. 5). He did
not attach a copy of a proposed amended complaint.
plaintiff's allegations survive initial review as to
Davis in his individual capacity, it fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted as to all other defendants
in their individual capacities. Plaintiff's allegation
that Griffith told him his past behavior was to blame does
not state a claim of constitutional dimension. See Burton
v. Livingston, 791 F.2d 97, 99 (8th Cir. 1986)
(“mere words, without more, do not invade a federally
protected right.”). In addition, while plaintiff names
Fum and Earls as defendants, he does not set forth facts that
explain what they did to violate his constitutional rights.
See Krych v. Hvass, 83 F. App'x 854, 855 (8th