United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
JOHN M. BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
SCOTT COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff John M.
Bradley 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 assess an
initial partial filing fee of $8.80. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will dismiss the complaint, without
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 statement showing an average monthly balance of
$44.00. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial
filing fee of $8.80, which is twenty percent of plaintiff s
average monthly balance.
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 Scott County Detention Center. He brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Scott
County Detention Center, Paxton Ayres, Wes Drury, Amy
Johnson, Amy Commean, Scott Mezo, and Vance Raines. He states
he sues the defendants in their official capacities. He seeks
monetary relief in the amount of $50, 000.
alleges that Scott County Detention Center violated his
rights by denying him access to a prison law library and law
books, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and
this Court's Local Rules. He alleges that he sent
requests and grievances to Paxton Ayres, Amy Johnson, Scott
Mezo, Vance Rines, Amy Commean, and the Scott County Sheriff
(defendant Wes Drury). Next, plaintiff alleges that his due
process rights were violated because he "spent 46 days
between arrest and arraignments." (Docket No. 1 at 5).
Next, plaintiff alleges that he received ineffective
assistance of counsel because Amy Commean, whom plaintiff
identifies as his public defender, "tried to get [him]
to plea to 5 years D.O.C. with no motion of discovery, failed
to explain process and state of my case or civil rights
violations." Id. at 4-5. Finally, plaintiff
writes: "No listing of jail rules or punishment, or
grievance procedures." Id. at 5.
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
was designed to provide a "broad remedy for violations
of federally protected civil rights." Monell v.
Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 685 (1978).
Section 1983 provides no substantive rights; it merely
provides a remedy for violations of rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the United States Constitution and
federal laws. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see
also Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994)
(Section 1983 "merely provides a method for vindicating
federal rights elsewhere conferred"). To state a claim
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish: (1)
the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States, and (2) that the alleged deprivation of
that right was committed by a person acting under color of
state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
With the foregoing in mind, the Court addresses the
allegations in the complaint to determine whether they state
a claim upon which relief can be granted.
construed, plaintiffs allegations against the Scott County
Detention Center amount to a claim that he was denied access
to the courts. Under the First Amendment, the freedom to
petition includes the right of access to courts. See BE
& K Const. Co. v. N.L.R.B.,536 U.S. 516, 525
(2002). The Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
makes the First Amendment applicable to the ...