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McCray v. St. Louis City Justice Center

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

October 17, 2017

REGINALD PATRICK MCCRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. LOUIS CITY JUSTICE CENTER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Reginald Patrick McCray, an inmate at the St. Louis City Justice Center, for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action. 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 $16.00. 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 riling fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has filed an affidavit in support of his motion to proceed in forma pauperis. In his affidavit, he states he has a $254.00 balance in his prison account. He states he had received $80.00 per month from a work program at his facility, but that the work program ended September 20, 2017. He does not attach to the motion the required certified copy of his prison account statement showing the amount of money on deposit during the last six months. In a correspondence attached to the complaint, he states that he has requested his prison account statement from "G. Beckum, " the case worker at the jail, but Mr. Beckum has refused several times to provide the account statement. Plaintiff states, "I believe [Mr. Beckum] knows I'm trying to file these papers and it's his way of stopping me!"

         The Court has no information regarding the average balance of plaintiff s prison account or the amount of monthly deposits plaintiff will earn after September 20, 2017. Based on the information in plaintiffs affidavit, the Court will require plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $16.00, an amount that is reasonable based upon the information the Court has about plaintiffs finances. 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 finances.")

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 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, 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 draw on its judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.

         When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff, an inmate at the St. Louis City Justice Center, seeks monetary relief in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendant St. Louis City Justice Center. Plaintiff alleges that on April 6, 2017, as he was attempting to climb down the ladder of his bunk bed, he slipped off the bottom step and injured his knee. He states he was sent to St. Louis University Hospital emergency room, where he was told his knee would require surgery. He states that he has been awaiting surgery for more than six months, and is using a walker to ambulate.[1]

         Plaintiff seeks to have the St. Louis City Justice Center install grips on the steps of the bunk bed ladder. He also seeks one million dollars in damages for his medical bills and for his future lost income.

         Discussion

         Upon review, Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed. Relevant precedent establishes that a department or subdivision of local government is not a "juridical, " or suable, entity under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark,974 F.2d 81, 82 (1992). Therefore, plaintiffs claim against the St. Louis City Justice Center fails as a matter of law. See Ballard v. Missouri, Case No. 4:13-CV-528 JAR (E.D. Mo. Apr. 22, 2013) (holding that "[p]laintiff s claims against the City of St. Louis Department of Public Safety, the St. Louis County Justice Center, the City of St. Louis Justice Center, and MSI/Workhouse are legally frivolous because these defendants are not suable entities"); see also Wallace v. ...


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