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Arnold v. Jacobson

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

November 14, 2017

JAMES DALE ARNOLD, Plaintiff,
v.
ZACHARY JACOBSON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff James Dale Arnold, 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 to grant the motion, and assess an initial partial filing fee of $5.89. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

         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 $10.00, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         In support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted a copy of his inmate account statement that shows an average monthly balance of $29.43. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $5.89, which is twenty percent of plaintiff's average monthly balance.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 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.

         When 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] Named as defendants are Zachary Jacobson, Shannon Thompson, Christopher Barton, Steve Oryan, Kevin Snow, Marrin Wright, Cody Brinley, and Brandon Thominilson. Plaintiff sues all defendants in their official and individual capacities.

         For his claim for relief, plaintiff writes:

On the 12th day in the month of June in the year 2017 I was incarcerated at Washington County Sheriff's Office. Prior to this I had a severe back injury in the Army. I am prescribed pain medication to function on a daily basis. I am also prescribed medication for sinus headaches because of allergies. Here at the jail I'm in I am denied all of my medication. There is mold growing on the walls, ceiling, and showers. I have tried to get my medications and supplies to try and clean the mold but was denied both. Not having my medication is an unnecessary deprivation to my lifestyle. I have no access to the law libraries or courts there is people on the floor that have been there for months there is 12-14 people in a 4-man cell. There is no medical staff here and my condition is deteriorating.

(Docket No. 1 at 5). He seeks monetary damages in the amount ...


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