United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
JOHN A. CRAWFORD, Plaintiff,
DAMIAN AUSTIN, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of John A.
Crawford, a prisoner, for leave to commence this action
without prepayment of the filing fee. Having reviewed the
motion and the inmate account statement 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 $1.00. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will direct plaintiff to submit an amended
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 a
certified inmate account statement that shows an average
monthly balance of $5.00. The Court will therefore assess an
initial partial filing fee of $1.00, which is twenty percent
of plaintiff's average monthly balance.
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,
prepared the complaint in the form of a ten-page letter.
Named as defendants are Sergeant Damian Austin and Lieutenant
David Cutt. Plaintiff does not specify whether he intends to
sue each defendant in his official capacity, individual
capacity, or both. Plaintiff describes many events in detail,
including being placed in disciplinary segregation, being
forced to wait too long to use the bathroom, being retaliated
against, being issued a conduct violation, and not receiving
a response to grievances. However, the letter is so full of
extraneous information that it is difficult to discern what
plaintiff alleges each defendant did to violate his
October 27, 2017, plaintiff filed a “Motion to Amend
and/or Supplement the Pleading Under Rule 15 Fed. R. Civ.
P.” (Docket No. 7). Therein, plaintiff asks the court
to assign an attorney to amend his pleading. He states that
he is being denied treatment for cirrhosis of the liver, and
that all of the issues he wants to raise have been properly
original complaint is subject to dismissal pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). However, because plaintiff is
proceeding pro se, and because he has clearly indicated that
he wishes to amend his pleading,  the Court will allow him to
file an amended complaint. The Court will not, however,
appoint an attorney for plaintiff at this time, as it does
not appear that the appointment of counsel is man Dated: this
stage of the litigation. See Phillips v. Jasper
County Jail, 437 F.3d 791, 794 (8th Cir. 2006),
Edgington v. Missouri Dept. of Corrections, 52 F.3d
777, 780 (8th Cir. 1995) (abrogated on other grounds, Doe
v. Cassel, 403 F.3d 986, 989 (8th Cir. 2005)). In
addition, plaintiff is advised that the Court does not accept
amendments to pleadings by supplement or interlineation.
Instead, plaintiff must file an amended complaint that fully
sets forth his claims.
preparing the amended complaint, plaintiff must follow Rule
8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires
(in relevant part) that a complaint contain a short
and plain statement of the claim, showing that
plaintiff is entitled to relief. In addition, if plaintiff
wants to name more than one defendant, he should include in
the complaint only claims that arise out of the same
transaction or occurrence, or, simply put, claims that are
related to each other. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a). If
plaintiff wants to name more than one defendant and assert
claims that are not related to each other, he must file each
claim as a new civil action on a separate complaint form, and
either pay the filing fee or file a ...