United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
LAWRENCE M. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
ELLIS MCSWAIN, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on review of plaintiff's
amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e). After review, the Court finds that the
complaint should be partially dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
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
state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than
“legal conclusion” 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.
brings this action alleging First Amendment retaliation
against defendants Ellis McSwain, former Chairperson of
Missouri Board of Probation and Parole; Robert Gould, former
Clinical Director, Missouri Sex Offender Program
(“SOP”); Kenneth Hovis, Clinical Manager III,
SOP; Michael White, Clinical Manager III, SOP; Scott
O'Kelley, Assistant Division Director, Division of
Offender Rehabilitative Services; and Les Semar, Functional
Unit Manager (“FUM”), Farmington Correctional
alleges that while he was confined in the Farmington
Correctional Center (“FCC”), defendant FUM Les
Semar retaliated against him for filing grievances against
two other FCC officials. According to plaintiff, Semar asked
plaintiff to withdraw two of his grievances, and threatened
that if he did not withdraw the grievances, Semar would make
him serve his maximum sentence-imprisonment until 2024.
Plaintiff refused to withdraw the grievances. In retaliation,
plaintiff alleges defendant Semar contacted his friend, SOP
Director Robert Gould, to have plaintiff terminated from the
SOP. Plaintiff would have been eligible for more than two
years' good time credits if he had completed the SOP.
states that defendant Michael White retaliated against him
for filing grievances by refusing to transfer plaintiff to
Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center
(“ERDCC”) where he was to have participated in
the SOP, and instead had plaintiff transferred to Moberly
Correction Center. Plaintiff eventually transferred to ERDCC
to participate in the SOP, where he completed Phase I.
Plaintiff states he was not allowed to enroll in Phase II of
the program. Plaintiff states SOP Director Robert Gould
deactivated plaintiff altogether from enrollment in the SOP
Phase II in retaliation for plaintiff having filed
relief, plaintiff seeks an award of compensatory damages of
at least $150, 000, 000 and punitive damages of at least
$250, 000, 000. He also seeks a nine month credit toward
Phase II of the SOP, and immediate placement on field parole
to complete Phase III of the SOP.
state a prima facie case for First Amendment retaliation
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must allege that he
engaged in protected activity and that defendants, to
retaliate for the protected activity, took adverse action
against him that would chill a person of ordinary firmness
from engaging in that activity. See Revels v.
Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870, 876 (8th Cir. 2004).
Court will allow plaintiff's retaliation claims against
defendants Les Semar, Michael White, and Robert Gould to
proceed, and will order the Clerk of Court to serve
defendants with process.
respect to the remaining defendants, plaintiff has not
alleged they were responsible for any harm to him.
“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 plaintiff); Boyd v. Knox, 47
F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995) (respondeat superior theory
inapplicable in § 1983 suits). Supervisors cannot be
held vicariously liable under § 1983 for the actions of