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Johnson v. St. Louis County Department of Justice

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

January 11, 2018

CARLOS DEWAYNE JOHNSON Plaintiff,
v.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and AMY JANSSEN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff (registration no. 76948), an inmate at St. Louis County Justice Center, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $43.11. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, after reviewing the complaint, the Court will order the Clerk to issue process or cause process to be issued on a portion of the complaint. The Court will also partially dismiss several claims and parties to this action.

         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, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $43.11, which is 20 percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).

         In reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at St. Louis County Justice Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights. Named as defendants are the St. Louis County Department of Justice, Herbert Bernsen and Amy Janssen (Nurse). Plaintiff sues defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff claims that he has been incarcerated at the County Jail for over six months. He asserts that he has lost weight and “many nights of sleep” and he “endures pain on a daily basis” as a result of the Jail refusing to assist him with his dental needs.

         Plaintiff asserts that he has several cavities and infections in his teeth, [1] which hurt so bad it makes it difficult for him to “finish a meal.” He states that he has completed dentist forms on over ten occasions, but no dental care has been given to him. He purports that two of his teeth are “broken down to the gum, ” and on one of the teeth, his nerve is exposed, making it difficult to function. Plaintiff alleges that although he has suffered with these same issues for over six months, it wasn't until December 2017, that he was told by defendant Janssen that the Jail would set up with an appointment to see the dentist for him. Plaintiff claims that the appointment was not set until he appealed a grievance to defendant Herbert Bernsen. Plaintiff states that he did not receive a response from defendant Bernsen relative to his grievance.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages ...


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