United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Michael
Burns 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 $1.33. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will dismiss defendants Timothy Seabaugh,
Chris Skaggs, Johnny Williams, John Doe, and Ms. Jane Doe,
and direct the Clerk of Court to issue process upon the
complaint as to the Missouri Department of Corrections.
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 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 showing an average monthly
balance of $6.63. The Court will therefore assess an initial
partial filing fee of $1.33, 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
complaints are to be liberally construed. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). However, they still
must allege sufficient facts to support the claims alleged.
Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir.
2004); see also Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282,
1286 (8th Cir. 1980) (even pro se complaints are required to
allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a
matter of law). Federal courts are not required to
"assume facts that are not alleged, just because an
additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger
complaint." Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15. In
addition, giving 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).
an inmate at the Potosi Correctional Center, brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Missouri
Department of Corrections, Timothy Seabaugh, Chris Skaggs,
Johnny Williams, John Doe, and Ms. Jane Doe. He sues all
defendants in their individual and official capacities.
alleges that the Missouri Department of Corrections has a
procedure that allows it to issue restitution, and that
"this procedure - or lack thereof - violates [his] right
to due process under the United States Constitution."
(Docket No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff alleges that "the
defendants" denied him due process when "they"
determined the amount of restitution to be withdrawn from his
prison account without a hearing. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that once "the defendants" determined he
was liable for a certain amount in damages, he was entitled
to due process regarding the determination of those damages.
Id. He alleges that the regulations governing the
imposition of the restitution penalty do not allow prisoners
to contest the amount of restitution charged, or a
pre-deprivation opportunity to be heard. Plaintiff concludes
that the his constitutional right to due process has been
violated through this process. He seeks an injunction
discontinuing the practice, and he seeks monetary damages.
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted against Timothy Seabaugh, Chris Skaggs, Johnny
Williams, John Doe, and Ms. Jane Doe. While plaintiff names
these individuals as defendants in the caption of his
complaint, he does not allege facts explaining how any of
them were directly involved in, or personally responsible
for, violating his constitutional rights. In fact, with the
exception of naming them as defendants in the caption,
plaintiff does not mention them at all. Liability under
§ 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights.
Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir.
1990); see also Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334,
1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (claim not cognizable under § 1983
where plaintiff fails to allege defendant was personally
involved in or directly responsible for incidents that
injured him). It is insufficient to say that
"defendants" acted badly and caused harm. The
complaint must state how each individual defendant
contributed to the constitutional violation. See
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676. This Court will not "assume
facts that are not alleged, just because an additional
factual allegation would have formed a stronger
complaint." Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15; see
also Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir.
1974) ("Where a complaint alleges no specific act or
conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint is
silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in
the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed, even under
the liberal construction to be given pro se
complaints"). These defendants will therefore be
dismissed from this action.
construed, the complaint survives initial review as to
defendant Missouri Department of Corrections. The Court will
therefore direct the Clerk of Court to issue process upon ...