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Laramore v. Jacobsen

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

January 22, 2018

ZACH JACOBSEN, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Dennis Laramore for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. Also before the Court is plaintiffs complaint and plaintiffs supplemental complaints. Having reviewed the motion to proceed in forma pauperis and the financial information submitted in support of the motion, the Court will grant the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and assess an initial partial filing fee of $32.45. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).

         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 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.

         Plaintiff has submitted his account statement showing his deposits from the past four months prior to the filing of the present action. The Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $32.45, which calculates to 20% of the average monthly deposits in his prison account for the four-month period.[1]

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 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.

         Pro se 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is currently an inmate at the Potosi Correctional Center ("PCC"). He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Zach Jacobsen (Sheriff, Washington County Jail), Steven L. Rion (Chief of Custody at the Jail), Kevin Snow (Deputy, Washington County Jail), and Cody Brinley (Washington County Commissioner). He sues all defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff claims about the conditions of confinement at the Washington County Jail, as well as about defendants' deliberate indifference to several of his medical needs during his stay at the Jail. For example, he asserts that there is black mold at the Jail, and he claims that the floor is slick in the showers at the Jail and the handicap rails lack "improvements" in the shower stalls. Plaintiff also alleges, in his supplemental pleadings there are problems with a "locking system" in the Jail, and additionally, the Jail is overcrowded.

         With regards to his medical needs, plaintiff claims that he suffers from asthma, a heart condition, and a broken tooth, and that none of these medical needs have been seen to since he has been incarcerated at the Jail. Plaintiff also complains that he fell while getting out of the shower and he was not taken for x-rays or to the hospital, despite losing sight in one eye and seriously injuring his back and neck and head. Plaintiff asserts that he was merely given aspirin for his injuries and told that the Jail would not transport inmates to the doctor or hospital.

         Last, plaintiff asserts that his asthma and heart condition have worsened as a result of the black mold and that he has not ...

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