United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Clint
Phillips, III,  for leave to commence this action without
prepayment of the filing fee. The Court will grant plaintiffs
motion to proceed in forma pauperis. However, after reviewing
plaintiffs complaint, the Court will dismiss the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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, 113 (1993).
seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
"Unknown St. Louis City Police Officers." Plaintiff
sues the Unknown Police Officers in both their official and
claims that on May 8, 2017, he was "accosted" after
some of his family members instigated an arrest by unnamed
St. Louis Police Officers. Plaintiff claims the Officers came
towards him with their guns drawn and told him to put down
his "cigarette and can of Budweiser." Plaintiff
asserts the Unknown Police Officers used the purported
victim's statements to apply retroactively for probable
cause for his first arrest in early May 2017. He asserts that
this arrest was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.
then asserts that during a second arrest, when he was
"fleeing, " he was "intercepted by a white
female cop" and shot by a taser. Plaintiff does not
provide a date of this occurrence or discuss when this
purportedly occurred. Plaintiff claims at this time he was
once again taken into custody and falsely imprisoned.
asserts he was made to pay his bail on these two separate
occasions, not properly treated for his mental health needs,
arrested a second time at the Veterans Administration by
Homeland Security personnel, and eventually taken to the St.
Louis City Justice Center at some point, but on another
arrest, taken to the Medium Security Institution where he was
placed on suicide watch.
seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief as a result of
violations of his Fourth Amendment rights.
outset, the Court notes that, in general, fictitious or
unknown parties may not be named as defendants in a civil
action. Phelps v. United States, 15 F.3d 735, 739
(8th Cir. 1994). An action may proceed against a party whose
name is unknown, however, if the complaint makes sufficiently
specific allegations to permit the identity of the party to
be ascertained after reasonable discovery. Munz v.
Parr, 758 F.2d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 1985).
case at hand, the complaint does not contain allegations
sufficiently specific to permit the identity of the Unknown
St. Louis City Police Officers to be ascertained after
reasonable discovery. Plaintiff has discussed numerous
arrests at various places in his complaint; therefore, the
Court is left to wonder how many police officers he had
difficulty with during the Summer of 2017. Moreover, as
plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is
charged with service of the complaint on defendants on
plaintiffs behalf. The Court cannot obtain service on
defendants who are identified only as "Unknown St. Louis
City Police Officers" with no indication of their last