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 Chauncey Leon
Watkins, Jr. (registration no. 32957), an inmate at St. Louis
County Justice Center, 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 an initial partial filing fee at this
time, and the Court will not assess one. Furthermore, based
upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the
complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
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, until the filing
fee is fully paid. Id.
has submitted a copy of his prison account statement for the
six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his
complaint. Plaintiff has a negative account balance at this
time. Accordingly, the Court will not assess an initial
partial filing fee at this time.
U.S.C. § 1915(e)
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).
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
plaintiff's proffered conclusion is the most plausible or
whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred.
Id. at 1950, 1951-52.
an inmate at the St. Louis County Justice Center, brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations
of his civil rights. Plaintiff's allegations arise out of
an alleged assault and arrest by police officers from the
Brentwood Police Department at the Brentwood I-64 MetroLink
Station. Plaintiff also alleges “cruel and unusual
punishment” and due process violations arising out of
his subsequent proceedings in the St. Louis County Circuit
Court. Plaintiff seeks one million dollars in damages.
not named as defendants in the caption of the complaint,
plaintiff makes allegations in his statement of the claim
against Officer Presson, Sargent Carmen, and Officer Sullivan
of the Brentwood Police Department. Plaintiff also lists
Judge Tom W. DePriest, Judge Brian H. May, Prosecutor Jeffrey
Pauck, and attorneys Travis Martin and Stephen Reynolds as
involved in his complaint. His allegations are fragmented,
and cursory in nature. For example, as to Judge Tom W.
DePriest, plaintiff states: “cruel and unusual
punishment, Due Process-did not follow proper procedure of
Law (Statue 1.180) 570.040 Repealed 1-1-17, court dates
2-3-17/2-14-17 Division #8.” (Compl. at 8.)
allegations are duplicative of the allegations plaintiff
brought previously in the case Watkins v. Presson,
No. 4:17-CV-1243 DDN (E.D. Mo. filed Sept. 11, 2017), which
the Court dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Both cases allege the same facts against the same defendants
arising out of plaintiff's alleged assault at the
Brentwood MetroLink station and the subsequent state court
proceedings. As a result, these allegations will be dismissed
as duplicative. E.g., Cooper v. Delo, 997
F.2d 376, 377 (8th Cir. 1993) (§ 1915(e) dismissal has
res judicata effect on future IFP petitions).
only defendants not previously dismissed in Watkins v.
Presson, 4:17-CV-1243 DDN, are the St. Louis County
Circuit Courts and the St. Louis County Public Defenders
System. Plaintiff makes no specific allegations against these
entities, only against the individual judges, the prosecutor,
and the public defendants. Even if plaintiff had stated a
claim against the entities, these entities are immune from
suit under the Eleventh Amendment, because they are agencies
of the state. The Eleventh Amendment provides that states and
their agencies are immune from suit in federal court, unless
the state has consented to be sued, or Congress has abrogated
the state's immunity by some express statutory provision.
See Pugh v. Alabama, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978).
Plaintiff has not identified any applicable Congressional
abrogation of Missouri's Eleventh Amendment immunity, and
there is no indication that defendants have waived their
immunity and consented to be sued. Thus, the Court ...