United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Marcus
James Greer, a prisoner, 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 $3.96. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons
discussed below, the Court will dismiss the 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.
support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an
affidavit and a certified inmate account statement showing an
average monthly balance of $19.81. The Court will therefore
assess an initial partial filing fee of $3.96, 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. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
alleges that his constitutional rights were violated when he
was a pretrial detainee at the Ste. Genevieve County Jail.
Jail Administrator Andrew Johnson, Unknown Gubel, and Unknown
Carro are named as defendants. Plaintiff sues all defendants
in their individual and official capacities.
to the complaint, the toilet in cell number 3 began leaking
on June 22, 2017, and water from the leak flowed onto a
walkway area. On July 15, 2017, plaintiff slipped and fell
while mopping up water from the leak. Another inmate told
defendants Gubel and Carro about the situation, but the
defendants did not secure the area or fix the leak until July
25, 2017. Since the fall, plaintiff has suffered from
headaches, back pain, and neck pain. Plaintiff also alleges
that other inmates were not given slip resistant footwear.
Plaintiff acknowledges that he underwent an x-ray after the
fall, but he alleges that he has not seen a doctor.
alleges that he “filed grievances to jail staff but
they provided no relief.” Doc. 1 at 7. He attaches to
the complaint copies of two grievance forms concerning the
slick floor and his need for medical care. Both forms include
a written response from a jail official. On the first form, a
jail official wrote that plaintiff should submit a medical
services request form for medical needs. On the second form,
a jail official wrote that camera footage from the day and
time in question did not show that plaintiff fell; plaintiff
had been trying since before the alleged fall to get the
medical department to give him prescription pain medication
for his back; and that a doctor had determined that
prescription pain medicine was not medically necessary.
Plaintiff seeks “injunctive and declaratory relief, as
well as compensatory and punitive damages from each defendant
in the sum of $25, 000 each.” Doc. 1 at 8.
Court first addresses plaintiff's allegations concerning
the water on the floor. Because plaintiff was a pretrial
detainee at the time in question, his claims are analyzed
under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause,
rather than the Eighth Amendment. Owens v. Scott County
Jail, 328 F.2d 1026, 1027 (8th Cir. 2003).
Plaintiff's due process rights were violated if the
complained-of jail condition constituted punishment.
Id. Because the Fourteenth Amendment affords
pretrial detainees at least as great protection as that given
to convicts under the Eighth Amendment, courts have
consistently applied the Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference standard to pretrial detainee claims involving
prison conditions or the denial of medical care. Jackson
v. Buckman, 756 F.3d 1060, 1065 (8th Cir. 2014);
Butler v. Fletcher, 465 F.3d 340, 344-45 (8th Cir.
2006). Conditions of confinement claims include threats to an
inmate's health and safety. Irving v. Dormire,
519 F.3d 441, 446 (8th Cir. 2008). To prevail, plaintiff must
establish an ...