United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNWED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Terrell
Porter 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 waive the
initial partial filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). In addition, for the reasons discussed below, the
Court will dismiss defendant St. Louis County, Missouri and
plaintiffs official capacity claims against defendants
Unknown Williams and Unknown Dickerson, and direct the Clerk
of Court to issue process upon the complaint as to Unknown
Williams and Unknown Dickerson in their individual
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 an
"Inmate Account Activity" form showing no credits
to his inmate account, and an account balance of -$214.73.
For this reason, the Court will waive the initial partial
filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4)
("In no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from
bringing a civil action or appealing a civil or criminal
judgment for the reason that the prisoner has no assets and
no means by which to pay the initial partial filing
fee."). However, plaintiff is not excused from paying
the filing fee. The agency having custody of plaintiff will
be directed to begin forwarding payments from plaintiffs
inmate account, . pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2),
until the $350.00 filing fee is paid in full.
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).
is an inmate at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic a
Correctional Center. He brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against St. Louis County, Missouri, and
two St. Louis County police officers: Unknown Williams, DSN
3568, and Unknown Dickerson, DSN 4151. He sues Williams and
Dickerson in an official and individual capacity.
to the complaint, on or around July 31, 2013, Williams and
Dickerson both kicked plaintiff in the face while he was
handcuffed and lying on the ground. As a result, plaintiff
suffered lacerations, scars, a fractured cheek bone and eye
socket, a concussion, and mental and emotional stress. He was
hospitalized at Christian Northeast Hospital. He seeks
Court first addresses plaintiffs claims against defendant St.
Louis County, Missouri. Plaintiffs claims against the County
appear to be based upon a theory of respondeat superior. A
local governmental body such as a county is considered a
"person" subject to section 1983 liability.
Scheeler v. City of St. Cloud, Minn., 402 F.3d 826,
832 (8th Cir. 2005). However, a county may be held liable
only for constitutional violations that result from its
policies or customs. Monell v. Dept. of Social Services
of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978),
L.L. Nelson Enterprises, Inc. v. County of St. Louis,
Mo., 673 F.3d 799, 811 (8th Cir. 2012). In this case,
plaintiff has not alleged that a county policy or custom is
responsible for his injuries. As a result, plaintiffs claims
against defendant St. Louis County, Missouri will be
dismissed without prejudice.
official capacity claims against Williams and Dickerson are
legally frivolous and will be dismissed. Naming a government
official in his official capacity is the equivalent of naming
the government entity that employs the official, which in
this case is the St. Louis County Police Department. Will
v. Michigan Dept. of State Police,491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). Municipal departments, such as police ...